Trio to make Pearls debuts

Fiji Pearls squad members during a training session in Suva last week. Picture: NETBALL FIJI

Three debutants have forced their way into the Fiji Pearls squad for the PacificAus Sports Netball Series to be held on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia next month.

Coach Unaisi Rokoura named her 15-member squad to prepare for the series with the bigger target solely on the 2023 Netball World Cup in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The PacificAus Sports Netball Series involves neighbours Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga.

The three new players in the Pearls squad are Reama Magdalene Verekauta, Ledua Pulotu Yabakivinaka Waqa and Josephine Tabua, who are joined by former captain Vaiti Coa and Fiji age-group player Lydia Panapasa.

Coach Unaisi Rokoura said training had been intense and the girls had proven their worth.

“We were very clear on our selection requirements for the Pearls going forward. As a result we have four debutants and I am excited to see how they will stand up in the PacificAus Sports Series,” she said.

“Those players who did not make the team this time have an opportunity to stake their claim in the upcoming national championship.

“The national selectors will be on hand to choose at least five players to join the current Fiji Pearls team when they return from Australia.

“There will also be a development squad of eight players who will keep the Pearls in their sights and fight for a spot in the team.”

Netball Fiji CEO Vivian Koster said they had faith in the selected players to deliver.

“We are proud to announce our team to the PacificAus Sports Series. As the national coach has stated, those players who did not make this team have the opportunity to fight their way back through the national championship in October. We wish our team well in the PacificAus Sports Netball Series,” Koster said.

The series will be held on October 16-21.

Squad: Lydia Waqavakatoga Panapasa, Unaisi Viadrei Kacilagi Kubunameca, Elina Catherine Drikibau, Maliana Mata Roseline Rusivakula, Jimaima Vakacegu Kete, Avelina Watirakau Agnes Navue, Nina Kulabu Cirikisuva, Ro Kalesi Esiteri Tawake, Vaiti Coa, Kaitlyn Abbey Fisher, Alisi Cidresu Naqiri, Kelera Nayau Nawai, Reama Magdalene Verekauta, Ledua Pulotu Yabakivinaka Waqa, Josephine Tabua.

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