by Tere Alex – EMTV Sport, Port Moresby
Papua New Guinea’s netball team PNG Pepes, left today to participate in the Nations Cup tournament.
The team comprising both young and experienced players, under the guidance of former Fiji International, Unaisi Rokoura, departed for Singapore.
Roukoura is confident in her girls, as they set to take on home side Singapore, in their first match.
After a 2 day selection trial held on 14 and 15 November, a final 12 member team has been selected for international duty.
The team includes veterans Kilala Owen, Lua Rikis and Winnie Mavara, who will be captaining the 15 member contingent including non-travelling reserves Nerrie Adula, Alurigo Opina and Tau Galewa.
The other current Pepes include Susan Wellingtong, Rayleen Andrews and Courtney Abel who has shown promise, with a very supportive father in Minister for National Planning and Monitoring and Alotau MP, Charles Abel.
Also making it back on the team is Gulf’s sensational defender Margaret Eka and Jacklyn Lahari, Shanna Dringo, Nancy Kapi, Kapaloki Mailia and 17 year old Southern Highlander Jeperth Tulapi making the team.
Rokoura is satisfied with the composition of the team for this tournament, as it consists of both big time season campaigners and a good pool of youth.
Rokoura mentions the team went in as underdogs and would go an extra mile to make their mark in the rankings.
The outcome of the team training program over the last few months has brought about some positive results, thanks to the PNG Olympic Committee High Performance Program.
Rokoura, with her assistant, Gimanama Crowdy and Margaret Opina, are banking on the girls to perform to the best of standards and said that this event is a good lead up to the 2015 Pacific Games, and it is also an opportune time for the youth in the team to gain experience and exposure to higher levels of competition in preparation for 2015.