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Netball Samoa's youth team keeps eyes on the prize

Netball Samoa has already started preparation for the 2020 Oceania World Youth Cup Qualifiers, to be held in Papua New Guinea.

The qualifying competition is a chance for Samoa to secure a spot for the 2021 Netball World Youth Cup, to be hosted by Fiji.

The Under 21 Netball trials, held on the 27th and 28th of September, attracted Samoan netballers from local clubs as well as those from New Zealand and Australia.

Out of the 37 players attending those trials, 20 were selected in the U-21 Netball Samoa training squad to prepare for the big upcoming qualifiers.

Samoa’s Head Coach, Ruta Tonumaivao Schwalger, said they were pleased with the showing at trials, and credited the role of local clubs in the development of local talent. 

"Thank you to our local clubs who have played a major role in progressing skill game development and ensuring that their players have enjoyed learning through the process,” she said. 

"We will definitely be seeing more local representation in our national teams if this progress continues.

"Player development has been boosted with the inclusion of age group divisions in the National Netball League competition.”

But she acknowledged the overseas pool of players also showed promising efforts during trials.

Head Coach Schwalger said she and assistant coach Pelesa Semu look forward to working with the selected squad members and watching their progress as they work towards the final selection.

Only six local players make up the 20 selected training squad.

Asked if there are challenges Netball Samoa faces in nurturing local talent, she said that forms part of the ongoing efforts by the Association, by ensuring coach development also takes place alongside player development to ensure that netball grows to the level needed for national teams.

Schwalger is assured that Netball Samoa has the ability to nurture and develop local talents for the international stage.

"Yes, Netball Samoa does have the capacity to build our local players to an international level,” she said. 

“With the support of schools, clubs, family and commitment from the players themselves there is always opportunity to develop [our] skill set to the level required for international level."

U21 Wider Training Squad:

Larafina Tanielu Stowers               Samoa

Kayla Fatima Schwalger                 Samoa

Geraldine Taefu                                 Samoa

Rosabel Tuatagaloa                         Samoa

Mesepa Parker                                 Samoa

Uriana Tipama’a                               Samoa

Bryanna Tamilo                 New Zealand

Taumuasila Matautia      New Zealand

Eternal Stewart               New Zealand

Alyssa Niko-Tuifao           New Zealand

Meletia Tatupu              New Zealand

Rialani Tuilaepa             New Zealand

Malia Seumanutafa-Gale              Australia

Tamara Anderson            Australia

Grace Valele      Australia

Sariah Silao         Australia

Silalomalava Palamo       Australia

Salani Aigamua        Australia

Tilomai Caitlin Lee            Australia

Ariana Luamanu               Australia

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