Experienced South African international defender Zanele Vimbela has joined the Team Bath Netball Vitality Superleague squad for the remainder of the 2018 season.
The 28-year-old, part of the SPAR Proteas squad for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, arrived in the UK on Sunday and will be available to make her debut when Manchester Thunder visit the Team Bath Arena on Friday (centre-pass 7.30pm).
“I’m setting in very well, despite the cold weather!” said Vimbela, who will become the third South African to wear the famous Blue and Gold following international team-mates Karla Mostert and Lenize Potgieter.
“It’s been good getting to know my new team-mates, they have all been lovely, and I’m enjoying the history of Bath as well, it is a lovely city to be in. Karla and Lenize had good experiences here and they simply said I should come here and enjoy it.
“The Superleague is a higher intensity than I experience back home in South Africa and the season is played over a longer period. It’s something I’m looking forward to experiencing.”
Vimbela, who plays at goal-keeper and goal-defence, played netball for Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth where she studied Human Movement Sciences. She also represented the Gauteng Golden Fireballs in the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League last season.
She made her full international debut at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games having worn the South Africa dress for the first time at the Fast Five Netball World Series in New Zealand earlier that year.
Jess Thirlby, Team Bath Netball Head Coach, said: “We are all very excited to welcome Zan to the Blue and Gold and feel very fortunate that an athlete of her calibre was able and willing to make such a commitment to us.
“Our initial conversations were very positive and I’m confident that Zan will fit in well not only on court but also within our culture. She has settled in really well and the players are making her feel very welcome.
“It will be an exciting few weeks for us to work with her as she builds up to the Commonwealth Games with South Africa, making her our fourth team member to be heading to the Gold Coast along with Eboni Beckford-Chambers, Kadeen Corbin and Chelsea Lewis.”
Vimbela is an injury replacement for Josie Janz-Dawson, who has sadly suffered a knee ligament injury and will miss the rest of the Superleague campaign.
The Australian, who has quickly become a popular member of the squad since arriving from Severn Stars in pre-season, will remain fully involved with the Blue and Gold during her recuperation.
“We will continue to support Josie 100 per cent throughout her recovery,” said Thirlby. “She has quickly become an integral member of the Team Bath Netball family and valued by both her team-mates and coaching staff.
“Josie has made a significant contribution to the team since arriving with us this year and aligns well with all that we are trying to achieve. She is a great role model, a very supportive team-mate and we will look forward to having her back on the court with us in the future.”
A limited number of tickets are available for Friday’s match against Thunder – doors open at 6.30pm and centre-pass is 7.30pm. Visit netball.teambath.com/fixtures to purchase or for more information.
That game will be preceded by a U19 NPL fixture between Team Bath and Thunder at 5pm, entry to spectators is free.
Team Bath Netball are sponsored by Sitec and supported by partners Mogers Drewett, Investigo and Netball South West. Centurion Chartered Financial Planners are supporting the team’s performance analysis capabilities, Viper 10 are their Sportswear Supplier and Skins provide the team with compression wear.
Report courtesy of the Team Bath Press Office at Matchtight Ltd.