We Need Results Or Heads Must Roll

To be beaten four times in seven months by once upon a time South Pacific netball minnows, Tonga Tala is making it tougher for the Fijian Pearls ahead of the World Cup next year.
23 Oct 2022 13:52
We Need Results Or Heads Must Roll
Fijian Pearls goal attack Unaisi Rauluni attempts a shot during their match against Samoa at the PacificAus Sports series on October 17, 2022. Photo: Netball Australia.

To be beaten four times in seven months by once upon a time South Pacific netball minnows, Tonga Tala is making it tougher for the Fijian Pearls ahead of the World Cup next year.

Tonga Tala came with rejuvenated spirit and downright determina­tion to slay the once region’s num­ber one.

They were just fed-up of losing, they went back to the drawing board, regrouped, and made use of their network to leave a trail of victories to the Fijian netters on foreign soil and at home.

Tonga is also a newcomer to the International Netball Federation joining the world boy in 2011. Since then they (Tongan: timi netipolo fakafonua ʻa Tonga) have not rested their laurels and have had a group of dedicated and die hard Tongan netball administrators, support­ers and players spreading their wings and extending their network around the globe.

The dedicated group of women got their younger sisters, daughters, cousins and nieces into competitive state competition wherever they were living overseas.

They kept the stats, the records, the results – monitored and ana­lysed their performance then Bang!

They showed up in Sydney for the PacificAus Sports netball series in March and not only shocked the Fijian Pearls with their 68-54 vic­tory but also the ardent netball fans back home.

Like that was not enough; Tonga again beat the Pearls 60-52 in the final to bag the gold.

Back home those at the netball headquarters may have done their little investigation, put together their strategic plan, maybe their five year work plan and continued the usual.

Three months later, Fiji hosted the Vodafone Oceania Netball World Cup qualifiers with Fiji, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Cook Islands. Top two teams quali­fy for the 2023 Netball World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa from July 28 to August 6.

Tonga qualified after beating the locals 59-29 for their first WC ap­pearance. Fiji after the round robin competition finished second.

Tonga is now ranked in the top 10 at number nine while Fiji sits at number 15.

For their fourth face-off, this week Tonga getting better stretched the score line to 74-55.

With nine months on our hands, there needs to be some drastic changes made if we want to save our face come the WC next year.

It is time for a change.

Face reality, if we are not getting the results we want then some heads need to fall.

New process, new people, new approach must be implemented to save the once upon a time most women participated sport here.

With so many colourful pro­grammes and events in the pipe­line for netball; these will come to nought if we fail to address the real issues.

The overall authority should re­alise that they must put their foot down to save netball. The coach and management have been given time to prove themselves, and if they fail to deliver then they should make way.

There are many former national reps that are willing to give their time to assist in improving and as­sisting the preparations needed for the WC.

Has anyone asked them for their opinions and thoughts that can be used as opportunity for improve­ment?

By now there should be better co­ordination, proper planning and better communication.

The authority should not be seen as a stand-alone entity working on its own.

Earlier this month on one week­end, there were several netball hap­penings – there was the Namalata netball tournament in Kadavu, Ra primary schools netball carnival at Rakiraki, the Medics tournament at Lautoka and the Fiji Secondary Schools inter district tournament in Suva.

While these events stretched out officials (umpires, recorders), had there been better coordination it could be a good opportunity to scout for new talent.

It was evident last weekend during the national netball championships the wealth of talent in the rural and maritime zone.

Let us identify focal points around Fiji, Rotuma, Kioa and Rabi to feed the database capturing information on new finds and talents.

Recent and present national rugby sevens coaches frequent sevens tournament in the outback to iden­tify talents – lifting the HBSC sev­ens, Commonwealth, Olympic and World Cup all started from there.

Let us not remain in our comfort zone and expect miracles to hap­pen. It is not too late to make that change.


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