By Sasha Pei-Silovo – EM TV, Port Moresby
2015 Pacific Games Bronze medalists, Samoa, will go head to head with a strong Jamaican side in the Netball World Cup opener on Friday.
The Netball World Cup will be held in Sydney, Australia from Augus 7-16.
The Samoans have set their sights on moving up from their world ranking of 13th, and making their way into the top 10.
From the squad, five of the girls have experience competing at the world cup level. According to Radio New Zealand, coach Marcia Hardcastle named co-captains Opheira Harder-Karatau and Julianna Naoupu as key players for the Samoan side.
Having expressed disappointment over their overall standing at the 2015 Pacific Games, coach Hardcastle is expecting the team to up their performance at the world cup. The Samoan netball team will arrive in Sydney on Wednesday and are scheduled to play a warm-up game against Uganda on Thursday.
The Jamaicans however will be in top form and have been named as Australia’s toughest rival. The defending champions, with home soil advantage, will be keeping an eye on Jamaica, New Zealand and England as their main dangers.
Known as the ‘sunshine girls,’ Jamaica is fourth on the INF World Rankings, behind England, with the Kiwis ranked second.
Jamaican goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler-Reid and goal attack Sasher Gaye Henry are two of the team’s top netballers from the Caribbean side.