ENGLAND’s Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning captain and a Malawi international complete the line-up for Severn Stars’ main squad for the upcoming Vitality Netball Superleague season.
Ama Agbeze, who led the team that inspired the nation when they defeated favourites Australia to win the 2018 Games, and Towera Vinkhumbo, who has eight years’ international experience, both join Stars’ defensive line-up.
Agbeze played for Superleague side London Pulse last year. Before that she played for Loughborough Lightning in 2016 and 2004-6, but also for teams in the southern hemisphere for a number of years, including Northern Stars, in New Zealand, in 2018 and Australia’s Adelaide Thunderbirds in 2017.
“My primary reasons in choosing Stars were head coach Melissa Bessell and Stars player Liana Leota,” said the 36-year-old.
“I’ve worked with both of them before and think they are great motivators, leaders and strong women. Add that to their ability around netball and you have a great environment to thrive.”
Like Agbeze, Vinkhumbo plays at goal defence and goal keeper.
“This is a great opportunity for my career,” said the 28-year-old, of Blantyre, Malawi. “I have a new family in Severn Stars, which will help me to acquire new skills and ideas. “I am happy I will be playing with skilled players and experienced players who will push me, some of whom I played against during international matches.”
Vinkhumbo has been playing in the Malawi national team since 2010, competing in the Commonwealth Games in 2010, 2014 and 2018. More recently, she represented the Malawi Queens at the World Cup in Liverpool in the summer, who went on to win silver at the Africa Netball Cup last month. This will be her first season in the Vitality Netball Superleague.
Agbeze and Vinkhumbo join a Stars line-up which includes New Zealand star Liana Leota, Welsh internationals Nia Jones, Bethan Dyke and Georgia Rowe, Paige Reed, Lucy Harris, Ella Powell-Davies and England Nets player Lucy Herdman.
Bessell said: “Ama is an amazing athlete and is always striving to be better, all the time. I told Ama I want you in my team for your experience, your knowledge and your ability both on and off the court.
“Towera has a huge amount of experience internationally. She is a very tenacious player and has a wise head on her shoulders, which is something I love in defence.
It sealed the deal for me after Malawi took the silver medal at the Africa Netball Cup.
“Towera played a vital part in two crucial games so it was a no brainer for me to bring her to Stars.”