Netball

6 Pearls Return Home

Their departure was the result of the border control measures introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Fiji Airways has suspended 95 per cent of its international flights until the end of May, with only twice-weekly services run between Singapore and Nadi.
25 Mar 2020 13:53
6 Pearls Return Home
Singapore-based Fijian International netball reps (from left) Unaisi Rauluni, Aliti Toribau, Ema Mualuvu, Verenaisi Sawana, Maliana Rosivakula and Alisi Waqa-Paul at the Nadi International Airport on March 24, 2020. Photo: Wiasea Nasokia

Six Fijian Pearls netball players playing in the Netball Super League in Singapore were sent back home due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The players Alisi Waqa- Paul (Magic Marlins), Unaisi Rauluni (Swifts Barracudas), Aliti Toribau (Sneakers Stingrays), Ema Mualuvu (Mission Mannas), Verenaisi Sawana (Llabten Narwhals) and Maliana Rosivakula (Blaze Dolphins) arrived in a Fiji Airways flight at Nadi International Airport yesterday.

Their departure was the result of the border control measures introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Fiji Airways has suspended 95 per cent of its international flights until the end of May, with only twice-weekly services run between Singapore and Nadi.

Paul told SUNsports that they had no choice but to leave and they could not complete the remaining two weeks of the NSL season.

She was looking forward to the NSL semifinals this week after their 51-48 win over Ema Mualuvu’s Mission Mannas last Sunday.

“We have to follow the procedures put in place. I guess we feel good to be home because we are back with our families, during this difficult time,” she said.

Paul, who is a Police officer, took leave from work and is expected to resume duties after her 14-day of self-quarantine. The same also goes for the other five players.

Since 2011, the NSL has recruited international players for the teams from round 2, which kicked off on March 8 this season.

Mualuvu, who was named the Most Valuable International Player, was disappointed to see her season come to a premature end.

The 20-year-old defender said: “I was shocked and didn’t feel happy at all. I was looking forward to these games before the finals before heading back to Fiji. But it’s important to go back to our country because it’s for our own benefit.”

Blaze Dolphins coach Wang Jingqing told Strait Times, she was concerned the absence of Rusivakula would affect preparations for their semifinal clash against Marlins.

“Rusivakula has impacted our game, but we do understand the decision made by the committee,” she said.

The players’ contracts were made possible through Netball Fiji and Singapore Netball.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

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