By HENRY MORABANG
THE Papua New Guinea netball team, Pepes, will have a busy scheduled this year as they prepare to qualify for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.
Netball PNG chairman Julianne Leka Maliaki yesterday said working towards the PNG Pepes’ preparation to the Gold Coast Games was a high priority of the newly-established Netball PNG board.
She confirmed that the Pepes have to play a number of International Netball Federation (INF)-sanctioned events to qualify.
“We have secured two international events so far, which are the Fiji Quad series in May in Suva and the European tour to Northern Ireland in June,” Maliaki said.
“We are working on confirming another one or two in March and April to help the Pepes prepare for the Commonwealth Games in April next year.”
She said the selection of three players for the Singapore Super Netball series was part and parcel of the PNG Pepes’ preparation for 2018 Gold Coast Games in Australia.
“The important message to stakeholders is that we have to qualify to be part of the Commonwealth Games,” Maliaki said.
“We are currently ranked 16 but we have to make it into the top 12 by July 17 to be included in the schedule for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia.”
The only time PNG participated in the Commonwealth Games in netball was in 2010 in India.
Maliaki said it would be a busy year for netball.
“The board will endorse the 2017 work plan at its first board meeting scheduled for anytime this month to commence the roll out of key programmes and activities over the 12 months,” she said.
“Overall it will be a busy year for the girls and the federation as we prepare our build up to the Commonwealth Games.”
Apart from the Commonwealth Games, Maliaki said other priorities included;
- Working with member associations to build and strengthen their governance structures, policies and encourage good leadership throughout netball’s membership;
- Developing and implementing a pilot national schools outreach programme to promote the WaSH Policy in partnership with WaterAid PNG;
- Capacity building of technical officials and volunteers in partnership with Water PNG Ltd, and
- Creating innovative programmes and activities through sports to address social and community development challenges in PNG.