Desert Jewels ready for Samoa… as Pacific Netball Series kick off

Home National Desert Jewels ready for Samoa… as Pacific Netball Series kick off
Desert Jewels ready for Samoa… as Pacific Netball Series kick off

Namibia’s Debmarine Desert Jewels are set to face Samoa at 17h00 today as the 2024 Pacific Netball Series begins in Brisbane, Australia. 

Running until 15 June, the series will feature six countries: Namibia, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Singapore and the Australian First Nations team. 

The tournament is the first competition of the year for the Namibian team, and they want to use it to improve their ranking to 15th place, according to head coach Julene Meyer.

To prepare themselves, the team played a warm-up match against the Brisbane men’s team, the Queensland Suns, yesterday.

Meyer shared that they played six quarters, ensuring all players got court time. “It was great to shake off travel fatigue and nerves. We worked with three Australian umpires to understand the interpretation and application of new netball rules here, and I am happy with how the players adapted.

The first training session at Nissan Arena, with its excellent facilities including seven sprung floors and a 5 000-seat show court, went well. The players are fit, injury-free and had a good session,” said the head coach.

Meyer also noted the tournament rule allowing daily selection from their squad of 15 to have 12 on the bench, providing flexibility to optimise game time. 

She added that the team has been working hard for nearly six months with ambitious goals: “to play well and reach the final. We have learnt valuable lessons from our sudden-death final loss (Namibia lost the final match to Zambia) at the African Netball Championships in Pretoria last year”.

Meyer added that benchmarking against island nations is key to improving Namibia’s world ranking, currently at 20th. Tonga ranks 8th, Fiji 15th, Samoa 17th and Singapore 24th. The squad includes six new players, with three making their debut. Introducing new talent is crucial to the team’s growth and future success, said the coach. 

Following today’s match against Samoa, Namibia will play Tonga tomorrow at 19h00, Singapore on Wednesday at 17h00, the Australian First Nations team on Thursday at 15h00, and Fiji on Friday at 19h00. The playoffs and grand final will take place on Saturday.