Tokelau netball team returns after two year absence

Tokelau's netball team are back in the Pacific Games after missing editions of the Pacific's largest sporting event. 

The last time the small island nation competed in netball at the Pacific Games-level was the 2009 Pacific Mini Games in Cook Islands.

Tokelau head coach, Rawinia Reweti, said members of the Tokelau team to the XVI 2019 Pacific Games are young, new to the competition and are in Samoa for the exposure.

"So what this has done for them as players, is giving them exposure to what it’s like to perform on the big white stage of Pacific netball amongst their forbearers. 

"Their families that are now here and gone, their parents and grandparents and that is one of the main reasons that they always look forward to every day, when we come to this venue," she said.

Reweti said their goal in this edition of the Pacific Games is to get a good ranking in netball for Tokelau as well as to develop the girls as players.

"[The goal] is to get a good placing, I’m not too sure what that is at the moment, and to develop them as women as players and as ambassadors to their country.

Reweti said the netball players, upon their return to Tokelau, will help to develop the code amongst young women as well as promote unity.

"So what they’re going to be taking back to Tokelau is hopefully they will do development back in their country amongst the young women and also to bring unity amongst them as women and know that they also can compete with other pacific countries," she said.

Tokelau has so far played against Samoa and Cook Islands and lost both matches, with their coach saying they are learning more in each game and are also having fun. 

"They are performing to the best of their ability, they are learning every time they come up against an opposing team, they’re having fun and they are meeting other players, and one of the main things is they go home from here and be proud of who they are and what they’ve gained from this experience."

While Tokelau is up against some big names in Pacific Island netball, Reweti is hopeful they will get a win in the competition.

"We’re in a very hard pool but in saying that everybody is in the same situation, so we’re up against all the big names, but we’ve still got a long way to go and we hope we get some sort of win at some stage of the tournament," he said. 

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