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Fijian Pearls On Track For Liverpool

The Fijian Pearls netball side are a win away from booking a place at the 2019 Netball World Cup after walloping Cook Islands 55-38 in Auckland on Thursday night. The
21 Apr 2018 11:00
Fijian Pearls On Track For Liverpool
Fijian Pearls goal defender Alisi Naqiri during the Commonwealtjh Games in Gold Coast, Australia. Photo: Zimbio

The Fijian Pearls netball side are a win away from booking a place at the 2019 Netball World Cup after walloping Cook Islands 55-38 in Auckland on Thursday night.

The Pearls made it two wins from two at the Oceania qualifiers, joining Samoa at the top of the points table.

Prior to this week the Pearls have not won an international match since 2015 and coach Vicki Wilson said, the confidence a win brings to a team is amazing.

“I’m up here on the 11th floor as we do this in­terview and the girls are down on the second floor and I can hear them screaming and yell­ing,” she said.

“They’re very thrilled with the way they played and so they should be- it’s been a tough road.

“We’ve played a lot of test matches against teams ranked higher than us and it was tough going but they stuck to their guns. They worked extremely hard and they came into this series match-fit and with a great improvement in their skills.”

The Fijians team arrived in Auckland, New Zealand, after a winless campaign at the Com­monwealth Games.

Wilson said every time they played in the Gold Coast, her young side were under immense pres­sure. Her team include eight players under the age of 21 and she is relishing the chance they’ve got to compete against their Pacific neighbours.

“Against higher-ranked teams they just suffo­cate you but playing in this tournament the girls can just unleash the beast or take off the shack­les and there’s no one stopping you from trying all those different things that you’ve learnt,” she said.

“They’re better matches physically against some of the teams so that’s where it’s been good for them to be able to find their rhythm, their own niche out on court.”

With the top two teams advancing to next year’s NWC, Fiji and Samoa stand a good chance of qualifying. The 2019 NWC will be on July 12-21, next year at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: anasilinir@fijisun.com.fj


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