New Proteas assistant coach Mdodana hopes to inspire young players

New SPAR Proteas assistant coach Zanele Mdodana is relishing the journey ahead
BIG HONOUR: New SPAR  Proteas assistant  coach   Zanele Mdodana is relishing the journey ahead

Former SPAR  Proteas netball captain Zanele Mdodana hopes her appointment as the national team’s assistant coach will encourage many upcoming netball players not only in Gqeberha but the entire Eastern Cape.

Mdodana was announced as the assistant coach together with head coach Jenny van Dyk by Netball SA last week.

Born in KwaMagxaki, Mdodana started playing netball at the age of  10 and played at Nelson Mandela University while studying for a sport management degree majoring in netball.

She attended Victoria Park High School. 

She has 82 caps for SA and has also participated in one World Cup.

Mdodana is in Saudi Arabia, where she has been helping grow the sport of netball in the country.

Saudi Arabia has been selected to host the 2024 Asian Women’s Netball Championships for the first time since its inception in 1985.

The 42-year-old former Stellenbosch coach’s biggest dream has also been to empower girls through netball, ever since she retired from playing the sport.

“I also knew that when I retired from playing, I want to give back to the sport that has given so much to me,” Mdodana said from Saudi Arabia.

“I always knew that as many coaches who held my hand and walked this path with me to ensure that I get to the highest level, it would be my responsibility to do the same.

“So I have known that I would use netball as a tool to empower a girl child and change the girl child’s life, be it in the form of coaching and education.

“But I love coaching and I love the impact or the power that I have to change a player’s life.

“If my appointment as the SPAR  Proteas assistant coach doesn’t motivate kids and coaches in the Eastern Cape and Gqeberha, then I don’t know what will.

“I started as a young player at the age of 10 and committed and dedicated myself to the sport, but I have had my ups and downs.

“I have had many thrills and tribulations, many tests.

“I’ve passed most and I’ve failed some, but I have learnt the lesson from the ones that I failed.

“I never gave up, I always had a dream and I kept my dream alive.

“I worked towards it — yes, I had moments where it looked like it was being denied but I was just being delayed.”

Speaking about her appointment as assistant coach, Mdodana  said she still found it hard to believe.

“I am truly in shock and in total disbelief that this opportunity has been given to me and I am also in the same breath grateful for being trusted with this responsibility.

“I am looking forward to working with Jenny van Dyk and building a winning culture and a winning team.

“Putting the SPAR  Proteas on the map and working towards making sure that we break into the top three in the world.

“It is a massive task and a huge responsibility but one that I am looking forward to tackling.

“I am excited about what is to come and what lies ahead,” she said.




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