Some familiar faces from the international netball scene are returning to the headlines this week. Interim England coach Tracey Neville will be supported by three former internationals in the country's coaching line up for the upcoming three match test series against Trinidad & Tobago, as well as the World Cup in Sydney. Colette Thomson, a former Sports Coach UK Female Coach of the Year and coach of England's U21 side which took silver at the World Youth Championships in 2005, has been named assistant coach. Amanda Newton, who captained England at the World Championships in 2007 and achieved a century of caps, will take on the role of Technical Defensive Coach, while Neville's assistant at Manchester Thunder Karen Greig is the new national Technical Attacking coach. Greig achieved 31 international caps, and has worked closely with many of England's emerging youngsters as the North West Performance Pathway coach in recent years.
Meanwhile in the Southern Hemisphere, three other greats of the game have announced their return to the public eye, although not in a playing role. Three Australian greats, former captains Liz Ellis and Sharelle McMahon will team up with another netballing superstar, Catherine Cox, to take part in The Centurions, a touring event created by former West Coast Fever coach Sue Gaudion, which will take place in early July and August. With more than 440 caps between the three, the 2.5 hour stage show will will offer an unprecedented insight into the private, professional and public lives of the trio during their international careers. To find out more, please visit http://www.thecenturions.com.au/
Sindh retained the Pakistan National Womens championship title, when they overcame Army 28-27 in the grand final played in Islamabad this week. In a hard fought contest, neither team was able to establish dominance, but Sindh's experience and ability to perform under pressure gave the side the edge when it counted. Higher Education Commission took third place, after a dominant 26-7 win over Punjab in the play off for the bronze medal.
Netball Jamaica has announced an innovative Adopt-a-Player programme, designed to raise vital funds to assist the Sunshine Girls with the expense of attending the World Cup in August. Captain Nicole Aiken-Pinnock is the first player of 12 to be sponsored, courtesy of a $J 1 million (approx $US 8,700) endorsement from insurance company Guardian Life. Netball Jamaica estimates that the cost of sending the squad to Sydney will top $J 15 million.
Australia's head coach Lisa Alexander has turned her attention to Africa this week, undertaking a three day coaching clinic for more than 200 participants in Namibia, in a programme designed to reignite interest in the game nationwide. Held in Windhoek, the sessions played host to retired players, coaches, school teams and current players all keen to learn from the former Australian international and former coach of the Australia U21 squad and World VII in 2009.
Netball Singapore has named a 14 player squad which will tour Fiji from 14-22 April. Following the tour, national coach Ruth Aitken will name the final 12 players to represent Singapore at the 28th SEA Games, which begin for the netballers at the OCBC Arena on 31 May. Captaining the side to Fiji will be Lin Qingyi (Micky) who currently has 82 International Caps to her credit and led the team to victory in the Mission Foods Asian Championships last year. Supporting her once again in the leadership role will be Chen Huifen and Nurul Baizura who have been named Co-Vice Captains. For further details of the tour, and the full squad line up, please visit www.netball.org.sg/news/item/968-the-race-is-on-to-make-singapore%E2%80%99s-final-line-up-for-the-2015-sea-games
photos Janos Schmidt