Pepes named for World Cup qualifiers

BY DAVID SUSUVE

Netball Papua New Guinea has announced a 12-man team for the upcoming Netball World Cup qualifiers in Oceania.

The week-long tournament is scheduled for later this month (July 19-23) in Suva, Fiji.

The qualifiers will be very competitive between the region’s top five nations in Fiji, Samoa, the Cook Islands, Tonga and PNG.

The two countries taking the top two places will represent the Oceania region at the 2023 World Cup, which will be held at the International Convention Center in Cape Town, South Africa.

The 12-man team will travel to Fiji next Wednesday to compete with the best group of athletes from the Pacific.

The Team: Goloa Ovoa, Violet James, Kala Ali, Allessandra Smith Ani including Kailani Brazier and Sarah Harris (overseas players), Jacklyn Lahari, Villie Nopiri, Alice James, Barbara Arivusu, Shannaz Apelis, Kilala Owen, Genevieve Ume, Lesieli Vele Taviri and Lani Kapapoita.

PNG Netball Federations High Performance Manager Iamo Launa said the final roster of three reserve players was selected during the last selection test camp held last month.

According to Launa, among the selectors who made the selections were head coach Gimanama Crowdy, Julian Leka (former president of Netball PNG) and assistant coach Margaret Opina.

“The selection committees are made up of ex-internationals with years of experience as top national athletes, coaches and administrators of netball.”

According to Launa, Head Coach Crowdy is a highly qualified, high performance coach and runs coach education programs across Australia.

Recent selections were assessed using updated international standard high-performance tests and protocols for both physical and ability to ensure selection was made on the basis of merit and performance in accordance with PNG’s Netball Selection Guidelines.

“The team list has been approved by PNG Netball Federation President Ulato Avei and the Board of Directors.”

The Pepes are made up of new faces and a few experienced players, chosen from both Brisbane and PNG.

Netball PNG would like to thank the Australian Government through Netball Australia for providing high performance training and competition for our two PNG players to compete in a tournament in Sydney in May.

Launa said they also have three girls on the team who were chosen by the rural village associations. She said there is so much potential in rural villages and encouraged rural clubs to support more of their village players to become the next Pepes.

“Netball athletes have encountered so many challenges in their preparations that they have not been able to access Rita Flynn Indoor Courts for training since the outbreaks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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