Last updated 5 months ago | By Elizabeth Mburugu
With a dream to manage women’s national team in future, Hilda is now focused on transitioning from player to coach.
When future generations read about Kenyan basketball, one name will no doubt feature prominently.
Kenya Parts Authority (KPA) guard Hilda Indasi will surely feature in the memoirs for being one of the individuals who helped shape the sport in Kenya.
Indasi will go down in history as one of the most successful female basketball players Kenya has ever produced.
From Kaimosi Girls School, where she learned basics in the game, to top clubs like Equity Bank Hawks and Kenya Parts Authority (KPA) as well as the national team, Indasi worked her way up to earn the confidence of top coaches in the country.
She has won numerous individual awards in addition to league and FIBA Zone five titles she has bagged with her alma mater United States International University of Africa (USIU-A), Equity Bank and KPA.
She has also shone at the national team level since making her international debut in 2006.
She began playing basketball in 1999 when she joined Form One under the tutelage of Donald Liruh, a Kenya Basketball Federation official and the current Western Delights coach.
“I’m very grateful to coach Liruh, who saw some potential in me and introduced me to the game. He taught me all the basics as I began my basketball journey that has been very successful,” Indasi said.
“I have had my ups and downs but I’m very privileged to have played under different coaches over the years and it helped me embrace hard work and also improved my interpersonal skills.”
Having joined Eaglets, now Storms straight from school in 2002, Indasi improved greatly in the sport and her efforts did not go unnoticed but she spent close to six years at the club.
She adds that Ben Oluoch, who now coaches Patriots BBC of Rwanda, polished her skills at Eaglets.
Her prowess in the game earned her a sports scholarship at USIU-A in 2008 and she grabbed it with both hands as she turned out for the university from 2008 to 2014, when she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management.
“Basketball gave me an opportunity to improve my life through a scholarship and I never looked back as I made sure I performed in class and on pitch,” she said.
Indasi adds that her years at the university was the highlight of her basketball career as she won two Premier League titles and one Zone Five club title.
“They were my best years of playing basketball. We did well and defeating established clubs like KPA and Eagle Wings was no mean feat.”
Better days were yet to come for Indasi who says that thanks to basketball she never went on a job hunting mission like many Kenyans do.
“I was very fortunate because a few days to my graduation, Equity Bank offered me a job. I graduated on Friday and on Monday, I was already going through my orientation at the bank. They also allowed me to finish the season with USIU-A and I started playing for them in the 2015 season,” she said.
She won two league titles and one FIBA Zone trophy title with the bankers before returning to KPA last year, a club she had played for in 2011.
Last season, the dockers’ shooting guard was named women’s Premier League top scorer despite her side finishing second behind Equity Hawks.
Indasi says she was inspired by former KPA player Joys Makunga, whose discipline and work ethic moulded her.
“I admired Makunga a lot. She was very disciplined and her work ethic was out of this world. Whenever I play, I still remember her telling me that I couldn’t play and talk at the same time, which meant I had to make a choice between the two,” she says.
“She never argued with the referees or engaged in much talk during the game.”
To upcoming players, Indasi emphasizes on discipline as the only tool that will keep them in the game longer and guarantee success.
And as she approaches the twilight of her playing career, she is working on her transition to coaching.
“It is my dream to become a successful coach and lead our women’s national team to greater heights but it has to start somewhere and I’m now working with students and my aim is to grow with them and become a better coach,” she said.
She is also looking forward to help professionalise basketball in Kenya.
“Right now, playing basketball is just a hobby, but we need to move from that and make it a profession.”