After a long and challenging Qualifiers campaign, Samoa has secured the top spot for the Oceania Regional Qualifier with convincing wins against Tonga, P.N.G., Cook Islands and Fiji.
This will be the eighth consecutive World Netball Cup campaign that Samoa has participated in with a ranking of 10th at the end of the 2015 World Netball Cup.
The best result for Samoa was in 2003 finishing off with a ranking of 6th in Kingston, Jamaica.
“The expectation of the team was to qualify as number one and ranked unbeaten,” said Coach Frances Solia.
“We had a lot of expectations upon ourselves to achieve what we achieved and I think we have exceeded everyone’s expectation”
Leading up to the Qualifiers the team had four preparation camps in New Zealand and an invitation tour to play test matches against the Scottish Thistles and Wales.
The contributing factors to the success of the team’s performance was their commitment to the fitness, strength and conditioning program designed by the team Fitness Trainer – Dominic Mackie, having a strong team culture on and off the court and experience of our ex- national players bringing in a wealth of knowledge and skills at this level of competition.
Chief Executive Officer, Rosemarie Esera, said that one of the challenges Netball Samoa continually face is the securing of sponsorship.
“Nevertheless with the continual financial support from the Government, S.I.F.A., BlueSky Samoa and Samoa Commercial Bank, it is vital that our efforts is to manage effectively and prioritize the sponsorship to achieve the necessary the outings and resources needed for the team,” she said.
Samoa is now one of the sixteen teams from across the world to compete in Liverpool, England for netball’s ultimate prize at the Netball World Cup 2019.
“Now that their passage to Liverpool is confirmed, the next step is plan for the next 15 months and it is important that we get some internationals before the pinnacle event next year,” Coach Solia said.
If the Oceania Qualifiers was an indication of what to expect at the 2019 Pacific Games – fast, exciting, skilful and competitive matches then we are going to be in for a feast of netball.
Although Fiji and Samoa will be competing at the World Netball Cup at this time, the intention of both countries will be to field a national development team as a testament to showcase their emerging players in preparation of the 2021 World Youth Netball Cup in Suva, Fiji.
Samoa recently appointed the 2019 Pacific Games Head Coach, Seraphine Mataia.
Her experience in coaching includes being the current coach for the St Mary’s Sport Club A Grade Women’s team, more than 10 years netball coaching at school and club levels, Assistant Coach for the 2014 Under 19 and Head Coach 2015 Under 19 team.
Seraphine’s in depth knowledge of our local players and netball environment together with her overseas coaching credentials will add value in the preparation of our team for the Pacific Games.
“First round of trials are planned for the 29th and 30th May at the NUS Gym to select a local training squad who will undergo a rigorous fitness, strength and conditioning program. For regular updates for both teams visit our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/netballsamoa.ws
“Again we wish to acknowledge our major sponsors – Government of Samoa, SIFA, BlueSky Samoa, Samoa Commercial Bank and our local and overseas Samoa netball communities for their financial assistance and an unwavering support.”