Athletes do not not come more gifted than netballer Lilian Ajio.
At 35 years, she has represented Uganda at two World Cups in 2015 and 2019, Commonwealth Games in 2018 and many Africa Netball Championships. Her on-court strut means serious business, while her tough but friendly demeanour off it has seen her rise to become one of Uganda’s most known sports personalities.
The above is what She Cranes fans will miss in assistant She Cranes captain Ajio who has decided to call time on her decorated national team career of 12 years.
The seasoned defender says she has achieved all of her goals in netball and would like to give a chance to youngsters.
“I have achieved everything that I dreamed of on court,” Ajio told Daily Monitor. But for the love of the game, Ajio who is still nursing a recurring knee injury that worsened during the Netball World Cup preparation, says she will continue featuring for her league side Prisons Netball Club as she anticipates on venturing into coaching.
The 2018 Uspa Netballer of the Year credits the She Cranes team for shaping her into the leader she is, as well as providing her a platform to fully utilise her netball talent.
However Ajio remains disgruntled by the high level of disrespect to players by the netball stakeholders.
She says many senior players have been openly insulted by coaches and fans terming them aged and outdated hence a need to retire. “It is always annoying, no one stays young forever, if the federation cannot put an age limit on players then let the coaches, and the so called fans stop calling players all sorts of things referring to their age,” Ajio demanded.
Ajio is also bothered by the empty promises to national team players by the government. “We have a lot of unfulfilled promises in terms of tokens of appreciation from the government and the federation. I hope one day we are remembered,” said Ajio who made her national team debut in 2007.