BNA vice-president Lt Col (Rtd) Hjh Wan Shahlimar Hj Suhaili (back row, centre) in a group photo with the national team at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas yesterday. Picture: BT/Ak Fauzi Pg Salleh
BY AK FAUZI PG SALLEH
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN - THE national netball team are in Sabah, Malaysia, to play three friendly matches as they prepare for the 10th Asian Netball Championship in Thailand from July 30 - August 7.
“I am planning this trip as a competitive series for the players before I start the next phase of training to identity the players’ strengths and weaknesses” said national netball coach Thilaka Jinadasa in an interview with The Brunei Times prior to their departure at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas yesterday. “Recently we had a national trial where I selected 12 players, so we would like to give each of the players game time and see how they adjust from one game to another,”
“Timing is crucial now as Ramadhan and Hari Raya will be coming soon, and after Hari Raya we will have less than a month to prepare for the major competition.
“It is very tricky, so we need to plan well,” she added.
Led by manager Sabariah Hj Kamel Jumat, the squad are made up of Captain Dk Nur Amal Nadhirah Pg Md Ali, vice-captain Siti Marhayati Ahmad, Nur Aimi Amalidya Zainidi, Siti Nuru Nazihah Hj Hassan, Nur Syuhaidah Fahriyana Hj Sukri, Siti Nursyaahidah Rashid, Nurulain Abdul Hamid, Nurul Aqmal Abdul Jamal, Nurafiqah Fatin Naila Abdul Samad, Syafiqah Naamatullah Amraan, Eileen Koh Xin Tian and Nursazwilla Rosdie.
Noor Zinatul Azimah Hj Ibrahim, Azyan Filzah Nadirah Abdullah, Dk Noor Nadziratul Nurul Nadiyah Pg Anak Md Harun and Dk Noor Izatul Raihanah Pg Anak Md Harun are selected as reserves.
Currently ranked seventh in Asia, the national team are coming off a strong 2015 after winning a bronze medal at the 28th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Singapore last June and recording four wins and two losses to finish sixth at the 9th Asian Youth Netball Championships in Hong Kong in December.
“We’ve still got some experienced players from SEA Games, but not the ones who are in the first seven - and they haven’t had much time on court in big competitions,” continued Jinadasa.
We have a number of experienced players from the Asian Youth Netball Championships while the rest are new faces.
“We have a balanced team this time around, it’s just that they need more exposure - and this is why we are making this trip.
“I think that the players from the youth team have improved after the Asian Youth Netball Championships, and now that they are coming to the national team, some of them have stepped up their game and perform better than the senior players,
“They are growing from the experience and I hope that the other players will also be given the chance to acquire maximum experience and improve their game from this outing,” added Jinadasa, a former Sri Lankan national player who went on to coach her country to gold in the 2009 Asian Netball Championship.
Present to send the team off yesterday was Brunei Netball Association (BNA) vice-president Lt Col (Rtd) Hjh Wan Shahlimar Hj Suhaili.
-- Courtesy of The Brunei Times