Netting Gold: Zanele Mdodana becomes first black head coach of Maties Netball

Many know her as captain of the Proteas, who during her tenure broke the team’s 12 year losing streak against England, and now she has been appointed as the first black head coach of the Maties netball team.

Mdodana will take over from Christine Behan.

In an interview, Mdodana said: “I’m a purpose-driven person and very loyal to things and people I believe in.”

“I’m looking forward to building solid relationships with the Maties team and to improve its performance,” she said.  

The team is currently third in University rankings.

She added that she wants to have a positive impact on the lives of the Maties Netball players. “I want to build the team holistically”, because it is “not only about the performance on the court”.

“Not only do I want my players to be brilliant netball players – I also want them to be brilliant people.”

“A good coach changes a game, a great coach changes a life.”

She counts her experience playing at the highest level as very important but acknowledges the greater responsibility for coaches, “A coach needs to be many things at different times for different players.” said Mdodana.

When asked about the extent of support for the sport, Mdodana noted that while there are improvements, men’s sport continues to dominate in terms of coverage and the amount of pay.

Former Maties Netball player and Stellenbosch University Honours student, Marsha Lietch, said that she feels “very proud” of the appointment of Mdodana.

“It’s always great to have people of colour represented on platforms like this,” said Lietch.

Zanele Mdodana Maties Netball Head coach for 2017. PHOTO: FACEBOOK

Who is the woman behind the jersey?

  • Born and raised in Port Elizabeth, Mdodana is the youngest of four sisters.
  • At 33-years old, Mdodana is the first black head coach of Maties Netball.
  • She’s always loved sport and decided to focus on netball when she received a scholarship to NMMU to study sport management.
  • In 2014, Mdodana made the list for the Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans.
  • Mdodana made her debut for the national netball team, the Proteas, in 2005
  • She began her coaching career at schools within Port Elizabeth before moving on to Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in 2014.

Things you didn’t know about Mdodana:

  • Role model: My father, Chrissie Wellington and other women who have conquered sport
  • Hobbies: Ballroom dancing, writing and adventure sports
  • Books or movies: Both!
  • Favourite food: Seafood

-Welile Makena