National star Zanele Mdodana will spearhead the Absa-NMMU netball team’s campaign at the national club championships at Vanderbijlpark in Gauteng, which starts tomorrow (September 25).

The team will be buoyed by the news of Mdodana’s inclusion in the Protea team for a tri-nations tournament against Malawi and Trinidad & Tobago next month.

Reg Sharp, convener of technical affairs of netball in Nelson Mandela Bay, says the team has tremendous depth.

“Although we suffered the withdrawal of seasoned players like Claudette Veldsman and Eulene van der Westhuizen, we should be able to give a good account of ourselves. These championships provide an excellent platform for us to measure ourselves against the top club teams in the country.”

According to Sharp, Absa-NMMU’s strongest competition will most likely come from the Gauteng-based sides. However, he warns that several teams from the Free State and Western Cape should not be underestimated.

Mdodana says she believes they stand an excellent chance of placing in the top four. “It is important for us to perform well for our sponsors and for the sake of the sport in the Eastern Cape.”

The Absa-NMMU team will also be able to call on the services of the talented duo of Sameshia Esau and Dumisane Chauke. Both players were invited to take part in the recent training camp for the senior Protea team, where Chauke made the top-20 squad.

The 20-year-old Esau, who was named best defender at the recent South African Senior Championships, was recently named in a strong SA U/21 team.

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