Johannesburg - Former Proteas netball player Leigh-Ann Zackey-Smal has been appointed as the new head coach of the University of Johannesburg netball team for the 2015/2016 season.
Zackey-Smal, who took over the reins in February, said she was ready to take on the responsibility of her new position, which she hoped would lead to success in June’s USSA tournament.
"The girls are a great bunch and in the past month they have become very close to my heart.
"I hope that we walk a successful path together."
Zackey-Smal played for South African schools in 1998 and 2000 followed by a two-year stint for the SA under-21 team from 2001.
Originally from Johannesburg, she played netball for the former Rand Afrikaans University, now UJ, for many years.
In 2003 she was selected for the national team, which she represented until her retirement in 2011.
Highlights included a pair of Commonwealth Games and World Cup tournaments respectively.
After retiring from professional netball, Zackey-Smal coached at Willowridge High School in Pretoria while focusing on her family life.
Before joining UJ, she did duty as assistant coach to Dorette Badenhorst at Pukke.
"Dorette suggested to UJ netball manager Charlotte Scholtz that I would be a good fit and I was up for the challenge."
Zackey-Smal and her team will face their first big competition of the season on April 17 and 18.
"I am looking forward to seeing the girls compete for the first time and taking their training to the next level."
UJ will be hosting the USSA netball tournament in June and July and Zackey-Smal said they are aiming to improve on their sixth-place finish last year.
"I would really like to walk a long and successful path with UJ and to build the team up to become gold medal winners," she said.