Youth Champs For Our Netters
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.
Netball Fiji president
The Fijian Under-21 at the Nadi International Airport yesterday.