Playing for Samoa “highest honour”

By Sapeer Mayron 22 September 2018, 12:00AM

Trials are underway for netballers vying to represent Samoa in the 2019 South Pacific Games and the Netball World Cup.

A few dozen women from Samoa, New Zealand and Australia gathered at the National University of Samoa gymnasium to prove to the national coach they have what it takes.

Coach Frances Solia said this year has been a great start for the national team but there is always room for improvement. 

“We want to be better, like how any team wants to be better, but we really want to get back into the top twelve where there are more opportunities,” she said.

For the women at the open, Ms Solia said individual athletes have to make the most of trials. 

“You have got to put yourself out there and make sure that you can work together.

“We look at that a lot, rather than anyone being the flash guy doing all these passes that a player can’t get. It’s about teamwork,” she said.

N.U.S student and netballer Kayla Schwalger said for her, representing Samoa would be the highest honour.

“I just want to have the chance to say I represented my country, something on an international level or professional level,” she said.

She said her strategy for the trial was to showcase her individuality.

“Even if you don’t know the other people, you have to show what you have and how you can help people around you or be a leader on the court.”

Tapuva Sione is a Pesega College student, and said if she made the team her big challenge would be getting to know the team as a whole.

“Getting to know how everyone thinks and how they play… everyone has a different strategy or set of skills,” she said.

“You try and adapt to how they play and work together as a team and that takes a while.

“Even now in trials I can tell most people are strong in different areas so it’s not flowing right but that is the challenge of playing with new people.”

New Zealand Samoan Esmeralda Lo Tam said for most of the women trialling, representing Samoa would be a dream come true.

“I think if you ask any little girl who is into netball, I think their big dream would be to play netball on the international stage, and I don’t think that’s any different with us.

“It’s very cliché, but to play and represent your country is one of the most highest honours, so I think to have that flag on your back or the side of your skirt is representing your family, your villages, your country and everyone who stands beside you.”

Esmeralda said for her, the trial is about making sure Samoa succeeds internationally.

“We are all just going to give our best shot to give Samoa the best chance at the Pacific Games and at the World Cup, and hopefully that shows out in the court.”

The national trials continue Saturday, and successful players will trial against the current national team on Sunday and Monday.

By Sapeer Mayron 22 September 2018, 12:00AM

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