Mthembu believes it was the right time to coach Baby Proteas

Written by on 13 March, 2024

By Ayanda Nyuswa

Former Spar Proteas star Precious Mthembu believes the time was right for her to make the step up to coach the South Africa Under 21 Netball team, as she received the nod from Netball South Africa. The 38-year old got appointed into the Baby Proteas hot seat, replacing Jenny Van Dyk who has been promoted to being head coach of the Spar Proteas. Mthembu worked as the assistant coach to Dr Else Jordaan and Jenny Van Dyk for many years and has now been trusted to lead the team forward, with her contract running until the end of the 2025 Netball Youth World Cup.

The former Spar Proteas mid-court star, who notched up 97 caps for the national team, has kept herself busy with various coaching roles since retiring from the game in 2022. She led the South African under 20 team to victory at the 2021 AUSC Region V Youth games, and coached KZN Netball teams Kingdom Queens and Kingdom Stars in the Telkom Netball League. Although she was surprised by being appointed to lead the Baby Proteas, Mthembu believes it was the right time for her to make the step up.

“It’s been like stepping stones for me in the game coaching various teams,I am head coach of UKZN Netball and at school I am a first team coach,” said Mthembu speaking on Extratime Unlocked on Gagasi FM.

“There are a lot of elements that I have put together to realise that I think I can literally sit on this chair eventually. The time was good for me, and the time was good for Netball South Africa and hopefully everything else will fall into place,” Mthembu added.

Mthembu’s first big task will be leading the Baby Proteas in the Africa qualifiers for the 2025 Youth Netball World Cup, set to start on Saturday in Pretoria. Mthembu and her assistant, Spar Proteas legend Phumza Maweni, have already selected a squad of 12 players for the tournament.

“The girls will settle in on Thursday for camp, they come from different areas of the country and we will start working straight away on the first day of arrival,” said Mthembu.

“We need to start working and analysing all the countries we will play against, I mean African countries have been doing a lot of work when it comes to Netball so we can’t undermine any of them. We saw how Uganda did against us, so we really need to start working.

“We have a lot of senior players in the team, who will help us qualify for the World Cup, and obviously next year the senior players will drop out for the World Cup. We have selected players who have played Telkom League, Varsity Cup who have experience a lot of things,” the 38-year old added.

Baby Proteas squad for Netball Youth World Cup Africa qualifiers

Giada Prinsloo, Sunel Smit, Favour Kamsy Umeh, Phophi Luvhani Nematangari, Sanmarie Louise Visser, Zané Bodenstein, Kyla Dames, Karla Maria Victor, Lisa Ingwersen, Renezia Andrews, Jade Morgan Atkins, Syntiche Kabuya

Picture: SABC Sport

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