The National, Monday July 22nd, 2013
IT IS now or never for the Pacific MMI Pepes to improve their world netball ranking after too many years of failing to break into the top 20.
It was not too long ago that the Pepes finished second behind the seventh ranked Fiji at the Pacific Netball Series in Samoa.
That performance means the Pepes have claimbed three spots and are now ranked 17th in the International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA) world ranking.
Papua New Guinea Netball Federation president Julienne Leka-Maliaki said it was her aim during her presidency to take PNG netball back into the top 10.
“It possible for the Pepes to make their way back into the top 10th,” Leka-Maliaki said.
Papua New Guinea’s highest ever netball world ranking was 10th which the country attained after the IFNA World Netball Championships in Birmingham, England in 1995.
But the country then dropped all the way down to 20th when the IFNA ranking systems changed in 2000.
Countries can only improve their ranking if they play enough international matches.
Leka-Maliaki said the Pepes would have to at least win three out the five games as they would be playing in the Six Nations Netball Series in Singapore in December to improve their IFNA world ranking.
“All we need to do is win three or four games to improve our ranking and following our recent Pacific Netball Series performance, I believe we can do that,” Leka-Maliaki said.
The Pacific MMI PNG Pepes now have the Six Nations Series in December involving hosts Singapore, and defending champions Scotland plus three other yet to be named countries.