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Two top players back in Proteas team

Chrisna Bootha and Zanele Mdodana will make a welcome return to the Proteas team for the Tri-Nations Series against England and Trinidad and Tobago in Port Elizabeth next week.

Goal-shooter Bootha and centre-court specialist Mdodana were included in the squad Netball South Africa announced on Tuesday, after missing the recent tour of England due to injury. England won the three-Test series 3-0, but head coach Elize Kotze believed the return of two of the country’s most experienced players would boost their chances in the tournament.

“Chrisna offers us more variety in the goal circle, which is a luxury we didn’t have in England,” Kotze said. “She had a fantastic training camp last weekend, and you could see she was back to her best. She offers us the option of switching between the very tall, but more static Melissa Myburgh, and Chrisna’s more mobile style of play.”

Kotze said Mdodana’s inclusion added another dimension to the team. “Zanele has such a presence, both on and off the field, and she makes a big difference to the team. She is playing very confidently.” The Proteas coach also welcomed the return of Aneret Viljoen after the loss to injury of Vanessa-Mari du Toit.

Kotze said it was a luxury having played England less than three weeks before the start of the Tri-Nations, which will be played at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth from October 22 to 25.

“The players realised during that tour that the England players were just ordinary human beings,” she said. “Although we lost all three matches, we have brought the goal difference down from 30 or 40 to 11 and 12 in two matches, and 18 in the other.

“The players are beginning to realise just what they are capable of and they will not be over-awed.” The Tri-Nations tournament will be followed by the Diamond Challenge against Zambia and Zimbabwe in Port Elizabeth from October 27 to 30.

Proteas squad: Chrisna Bootha, Melissa Myburgh, Maryka Holtzhausen, Lindie Lombard, Simnikiwe Mdaka, Bongiwe Msomi, Zanele Mdodana, Precious Mthembu, Karla Mostert, Aneret Viljoen, Nontle Gwavu, Adele Niemand.


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