Friday, 20 April 2012

Netball Around the World

Elize Kotze, (pictured) has been confirmed as national coach for South Africa until after the country's scheduled tour of Jamaica in June. Kotze, who was a member of a national coaching panel appointed early last year, was South Africa's head coach for the World Championships last July and, as a player, was a member of the South African team which won the silver medal at the World Championships in Birmingham in 1995.

In other coaching news this week, USA Netball Association (USANA) has announced the appointment of Matthias Wilkie as the country's national coach. Mr Wilkie, who has a wealth of experience in netball and sports in general, will head a team of coaches in the mid-west, north east and south east of the country which will work directly with national squad players in those regions. They will be preparing the country's national side that will participate in the Americas Federation of Netball Associations Regional Championships in Trinidad & Tobago in July, as well as the International Fast Net Tournament which is scheduled for October in Jamaica.

Netball Australia has announced it is developing a strategic and operational plan to help Malaysian netball players take part in international competition. This is part of Australia's focus on creating an international legacy within Asia and the South Pacific following the Sydney World Championships in 2015; Malaysia is currently ranked 24th in the world. Netball Australia's Head of Sport Development and Performance Anne Marie Phippard and Participation Manager Stacey O'Neill spent a week in Kuala Lumpur recently, training 30 coaches from across Malaysia. During the workshop, the Malaysian coaches were introduced to a new programme – JomPi Jaring, based on Netball Australia's junior NetSetGo! Programme and a pilot scheme is set to be rolled out in 14 centres across Malaysia for girls aged 5-6. Netball Australia also provided modified equipment to assist in young player development.

Invercargill, in New Zealand's South Island, has been stripped of its Silver Ferns' hosting rights, but it is hoped the national team will be back in the city next year. Netball New Zealand announced this week that the quad series international double-header, which was to be played in the city on October 28, has been transferred to Tauranga's new state-of-the-art stadium, because the new Stadium Southland will not be ready in time. The Invercargill facility was damaged by heavy snow last winter, which caused severe structural damage to the building.

In Bermuda, Young Men's Social Club Lady Bluebirds completed an impressive clean-sweep of the island's competitions for 2012 by lifting the Bermuda Netball Association Knock Out Cup title last weekend. In the final, the Lady Bluebirds defeated North Village Lady Rams 44-24 to finish the season without a single defeat in the national cup, winter league and Sylvia Easterly Trophy competitions.

England's young side completed a 3-0 series win over visitors Barbados with a 73-32 victory in the third test between the two countries, played last weekend. After a disappointing display in the second test, which saw England edge the win by only five goals, the home side was in determined mood from the first whistle and player of the match Naida Hutchinson, returning to the international stage after a long break due to injury, was recognised for an impressive defensive display.

Melbourne Vixens and Northern Mystics are the only undefeated teams in the ANZ Championships after three round of matches, beating the Adelaide Thunderbirds 48-34 and West Coast Fever 52-45 respectively last weekend. However, the sorry start to the season continued for highly rated Waikato/BOP Magic, still without a win after losing 47-49 to the NSW Swifts to leave the New Zealand side at the bottom of the league table. Reigning champions Queensland Firebirds got their 2012 campaign back on track with a 58-32 victory over the Central Pulse, while the Southern Steel narrowly edged past the Canterbury Tactix 55-53 in an all-New Zealand clash.

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