Netball appeal


THE Papua New Guinea Pepes could miss out on the netball World Cup qualifiers next month if they cannot raise K150,000.
PNG Netball Federation president Julienne Leka-Maliaki made the appeal this week as the national team need help for their 12-member team and officials to travel to Auckland for the April 17-21 tournament.
Leka-Maliaki said she understood the country was facing tough economic times and sponsorship was hard to come by but appealed to the State and the corporate sector to consider the sport and its national team.
“We need at least K150,000 to get this team to Auckland next month for the World Cup qualifiers,” Leka-Maliaki said.
“We know these are tough economic times but we’re appealling for our players who will benefit from taking part at this event.
“With the other participating nations all fielding young teams at the qualifiers PNG has a great opportunity to do well and we have put together a strong squad including several Australia-based players.”
Leka-Maliaki said netball was the country’s leading women’s sport and the Pepes, who won gold at the Pacific Mini Games last December, had made progress over the last decade but continued to be ranked behind fellow Pacific island nations Fiji, Samoa and the Cook Islands. Leka-Maliaki said netball’s friends and supporters had done a lot for the sport but the Pepes needed a corporate sponsor to step in.
“It’s a big challenge for us. We’re hoping someone, whether it’s state or corporate, will hear our call and step in to help. We think supporting netball and the Pepes is a worthwhile cause.”
Maliaki said the timing of their tournament could be a reason there was not enough support coming through.
“The Commonwealth Games is on next month as well and we appreciate that the PNG Olympic Committee and the government are committed to that event but we would be grateful for help to attend our World Cup qualifiers.”
Leka-Maliaki said their world and regional netball bodies were unable to assist because the sport was essentially an amateur one and there was little in the way of global funding.
She said most netball-playing nations had to fend for themselves in terms of financial support.
“In terms of gender equity, what better way to support that cause then to help ensure PNG can be represented at the netball World Cup qualifiers.”
Leka-Maliaki said she was concerned that with the Pepes going through a transition period with the next generation of players coming through, failing to attend a major tournament could have a demoralising effect on the squad.
“These girls have been committed and have prepared so hard over the last two months. If we have to pull out it might discourage them from dedicating their time and effort to netball.
“Any support will mean a lot to the team and us.”

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