The National- Friday, January 21, 2011
THE Papua New Guinea Netball Federation has created a first for female sports by exporting two Pepes to play in Singapore’s Netball Super League.
The two representative players are centre Alurigo Opina and defender Nisha Omi.
They were identified during the recent Commonwealth Games in Delhi India last October.
The month-long stint will start on March 16 to April 16.
The Singapore Netball Super League is an six-team elite domestic league in Singapore with each team this year allowed one foreign player who is a current member of her national team.
PNGNF president Julian Leka-Maliaki was thankful for the provision of this player pathway programme and supported by Singapore Netball.
Under the programme, Singapore Netball will pay for air fares, allowances, provide accomodation, uniforms and insure the players while also covering other incidentals.
Leka-Maliaki said this arrangement could set a blue print for similar arrangements in the future with netball competitions in other countries.
“Such mutual arrangements are extremely beneficial to countries such as PNG as it not only helps raise the standard of our players and ultimately our national team at the international level but it creates a window of opportunity to be competitive in foreign countries, thus creating elite player pathways for our current and future netballers,” she said.
According to Singapore netball executive director Cyrus Medora, this would be the first time that Netball Singapore had invited top players from other countries to be part of their premier netball league.
“Opina and Omi will add a lot of excitement to our league,” Medora said.
“They are both exciting players and will add a refreshing new dimension to our competition.”
“The anticipation of seeing them in action is huge in the netball community here.
“The plan is to have one foreign import in each of the six Super League teams, and we have invited two players from Tanzania and Fiji as well,” he added.
“They (Opina and Omi) will also be training with our national team on certain days, in addition to their club training and matches for the Super League.”
The duo are also fortunate to be under the watchful eye of the Singapore national coach Kate Carpenter, who is a former coach of the PNG Pepe’s and the PNG netball coordinator previously based in Goroka, Eastern Highlands.