When Trinidad and Tobago international Daystar Swift signed a contract with the Northern Stars for this year’s ANZ Netball Premiership, she finally got the professional break she’d been longing for.

Netballers don’t get paid where she comes from and the 28-year-old
had to turn down earlier opportunities in the UK’s Superleague.

“This is the first professional contract that I took up. I got offers
to play in England on two occasions but because of my job I was not
able to get the release in time so I got it this time around thankfully
so this is my first opportunity,” Swift said.

Finally able to get time off her job as a high school PE teacher, she made huge sacrifices to be here.

She has her partner and two-year-old daughter back home. It’s been
made even harder with the Covid-19 pandemic gripping the world.

After only one round of the ANZ Premiership, the competition joined the list of suspended leagues.

When it was announced New Zealand would be going into lockdown last
month, it was too late for her to even consider returning home.

“It was on the table, [Northern Stars] management put it on the table
for me, however it was too late because our borders back home were
already closed.”

The borders in Trinidad and Tobago were closed before the borders in
New Zealand were, so attempts by her partner and daughter to get here
have been unsuccessful.

Online chats with family and friends are a big part of her day now.

“I’m on Skype almost the entire day, outside the training,” she laughs.

Trinidad and Tobago are under similar restrictions to New Zealand and
her big family – she has six siblings, try to keep her spirits up.

Swift flats with Silver Fern Maia Wilson, which she said had been a blessing.

“It’s been great, especially when it comes to training, sometimes
it’s very demotivating training alone so just having someone else there
to give that encouragement is definitely a plus for me.”

Her sporting family are proud of her and her sister, who is in a similar position.

“My sister plays professional football in Iceland. She’s waiting for
the borders to be open so that she can leave Trinidad and Tobago to go,
she should have been there. This year was going to be her second year.”

When she arrived in New Zealand in early January, she could never
have foreseen what was going to transpire but she’s staying positive and
can’t wait to play again.

“That’s the reason we’re here and we’re only here for a short time so it’s really to make the best of the opportunity given.”

Initially the plan was for her partner and daughter to join her in
the middle of the season, which would have been around late May.

For now she has to sit tight, hope things change and that she can be
reunited with her daughter, well before her third birthday in August.

Swifts’ international team-mate Kalifa McCollin, is also in New Zealand for her first season of the ANZ Premiership.

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