The South African international defender is the 10th player announced by last year’s title winners; the Vitality Netball Superleague signing window for the 2022 season closes on Friday
Last Updated: 11/10/21 5:38pm
Zanele Vimbela is Loughborough Lightning’s first new signing ahead of the forthcoming 2022 Vitality Netball Superleague and the 10th player to join their roster.
The 32-year-old defender is no stranger to elite-level netball having featured in South Africa’s national side in the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games, and more recently the 2019 Netball World Cup in Liverpool.
Johannesburg-born Vimbela, who stands at 6ft tall, missed out on the 2021 Superleague season.
She was due to represent Strathclyde Sirens, however she suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury at a TNL Tournament in South Africa prior to the season starting.
Now fit and raring to go, Vimbela is keen to get back on court and show the Loughborough crowds what she can bring to the table.
“I feel very honoured to join a team like Lightning for the 2022 season, couldn’t be happier to be with a high-quality franchise,” she told Loughborough Sport.
“I’m mostly excited to be getting back on court and defending the championship, after being out for almost a year from injury and hope to be a great fit for the team.
“What I’m hoping to achieve in 2022 is to continue growing in the game of netball and of course retain the VNSL title with Lightning.”
With Australian defender Sam May announcing her retirement at the end of the 2021 season, Lightning’s head coach Sara Francis-Bayman was keen to look for a replacement that continued to provide experience for her younger players.
“Zan is hugely experienced both domestically and internationally,” Francis-Bayman said. “She will provide dynamism to our defence end whilst giving the younger players confidence and calmness.”
Vimbela brings Lightning’s head count to 10, with the signing window closing on October 15. All of the Superleague franchises are allowed to have a squad of 15 players, comprising 12 registered players and up to three training partners.
Loughborough Lighting 2022 Squad: Mary Cholhok, Ella Clark, Beth Cobden, Alice Harvey, Jess Haynes, Hannah Joseph, Suzie Liverseidge, Nat Panagarry, Hannah Williams and Zanele Vimbela.