Youth Champs For Our Net­ters

Fiji Sun - - Sport - LITIA TIKOMAILEPANONI NADI Edited by Osea Bola Feed­back: litia.tikomailepanoni@fi­

The Fi­jian Un­der-21 net­ball team will play two in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions in its build up to the 2017 World Youth Cham­pi­onship in Botswana. This in­cludes the In­ter­na­tional Youth Tour­na­ment in Jan­uary and the In­ter­na­tional Sec­ondary Schools com­pe­ti­tions in May. The con­fir­ma­tion was made by Net­ball Fiji pres­i­dent Wainikiti Bogidrau yes­ter­day af­ter the team re­turned un­beaten in the Ocea­nia Net­ball Youth qual­i­fier in Auck­land New Zealand. The Baby Pearls were greeted by Net­ball Fiji of­fi­cials, par­ents and fans at Nadi In­ter­na­tional Air­port. “The con­firmed teams so far are New Zealand U21, Aus­tralia U21, Cook Is­lands, Samoa and Fiji. “We are us­ing that tour­na­ment as a build up for the 2017 World Youth Champs, “she said.

“Since most of our girls are stu­dents, we are host­ing the In­ter­na­tional Sec­ondary Schools com­pe­ti­tion and we will have about 10 teams. “Our sec­ondary school play­ers will form the core of the Fiji team.”

Wainikiti ap­plauded the play­ers af­ter re­turn­ing home un­de­feated. “It was a suc­cess­ful tour­na­ment for us, since we had a good set of play­ers who ex­e­cuted the per­fect strat­egy. The Cook Is­lands tried to rat­tle us in the last minute but it was too late for them to catch up,” Bogidrau said. “What re­ally came through for us are the girls con­di­tion­ing. As the games con­tin­ued the other teams started get­ting in­jured, the Samoans and the Cooks brought two re­place­ment play­ers. “We stayed with our orig­i­nal 12. Also ma­jor­ity of our girls are lo­cally based and those who are in over­seas are Fiji-born, “Our lo­cal com­pe­ti­tion is strong com­pared to Samoa and Cook Is­lands. That re­ally came through strongly for us.” Bogidrau also ap­plauded new na­tional coach Vicki Wil­son. “The learn­ing and the growing programme she brought has been good, from our point of view, Vicki is a very pos­i­tive coach. “She has not tried to change the way the girls play the game, she has not dic­tated the way they should play, she has worked with the Fi­jian play­ers and al­lowed the girls to be cre­ative around the court and that is the beauty of our coach.

“She is pos­i­tive, she works with the girls’ strength, she en­hances that, and she has been good for the team and the fact that she is the for­mer teacher her­self.

Bogidrau said places were still avail­able for those who wish to join the U21 team.

“If play­ers prove them­selves, the coach will con­sider them into the squad. But it will be bet­ter for us now that we have a core group of play­ers we keep de­vel­op­ing that group and train our main squad.

Wil­son will re­turn to Fiji later this month.

The learn­ing and the growing programme she brought has been good, from our point of view, Vicki is a very pos­i­tive coach.

Wainikiti Bogidrau

Net­ball Fiji pres­i­dent

Photo: Litia Tikomailepanoni

The Fi­jian Un­der-21 at the Nadi In­ter­na­tional Air­port yes­ter­day.

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