Netball | SPORTS

Selection Still Open For World Cup: Rokoura

The Netball Fiji high performance unit is always open to players along with selection into the national side, says head coach Unaisi Rokoura.
27 Jul 2022 12:36
Selection Still Open For World Cup: Rokoura
Fiji Pearls shooter Maliana Rusivakula (with ball) on attack against the Cook Islands during their Vodafone Oceania Netball World Cup qualifier match at the Vodafone Arena on July 23, 2022. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The Netball Fiji high per­formance unit is always open to players along with selection into the national side, says head coach Unaisi Rok­oura.

This was after the Fiji Pearls qualified last weekend for next year’s World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa which will be held from July 28 to August 6.

Fiji finished second behind the unbeaten Tonga Tala during the recent Vodafone Oceania Net­ball World Cup qualifier.

“We are going back now, sit and map out plan for Cape Town, then heading off to our next training and prepare for the World Cup next year,” Rokoura said.

“The high performance of Net­ball Fiji is always open once the competition starts, if they are seen they will be invited in. It’s open.”

Despite losing 59-29 to Tonga in their second game, the Pearls proved they are a better side and beat Samoa and Cook Islands, 45-43 and 51-34, respectively.

“We had only four months to get the team together and pre­pare for the qualifiers.

“We came in with one goal; that is to retain possession and work defensively.”

While some seasoned players like Maria Lutua-Rusivakula, Nina Cirikikisuva and Afa Ru­sivakula were questioned for being named in the squad, Rok­oura said their experience was needed on the side.

“These two sisters (Afa and Ma­liana) have something unique about them; they have been play­ing together for a long time.

“Afa a very experienced player, her knowledge around the circle is amazing.

“As long as they can do the work on the court, that’s the most important thing. Coming into qualifier, you cannot buy experience.

“For this past three months, that short period of time this team has managed to blend ex­perience and the youth.

“It seems like they have been playing for a long time.”

“I know most experience play­ers would want to be part of the road to Cape Town.”

“Alisi Naqiri, I won’t rule her out. It was just a hard fall, and one of those days. She is my captain Courageous. She led the team really well.”


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