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Netball News from around the World by Rona Hunisett
South Africa's Proteas have taken the inaugural Diamond Challenge tournament in Pretoria, with a 47-43 win over Malawi in the final. Botswana took third place with a 45-36 win over Zambia. Despite missing Erin Burger and Amanda Myndhardt from its strongest line up, the South African side was determined to overturn a 47-42 loss to Malawi at the group stages. With GS Chrisna Bootha back on court after missing the start of the tournament through illness, the Proteas soon took advantage of the Malawian team's mistakes, outscoring the Queens 14-6 in the third quarter to establish an unassailable lead. The sports ministers of both countries were in attendance for the final of the tournament, which is set to become a regular fixture for Africa's netballing nations.
23 year old midcourter Bailey Mes is the surprise inclusion in New Zealand's Silver Ferns squad for 2012-3. Mes, who achieved only 15 minutes court time for the Northern Mystics during the 2012 ANZ Championships campaign, was named this week in the 12 player squad to contest the upcoming Constellation Cup against Australia, after impressing the Ferns selectors at the recent selection camp in Auckland. Former Silver Fern Jodie Brown is also recalled to the squad, after a five year absence. The full Silver Ferns line up for the Constellation Cup is: Jodi Brown, Leana de Bruin, Kayla Cullen, Katrina Grant, Anna Harrison, Laura Langman (vice captain), Cathrine Latu, Camilla Lees, Bailey Mes, Maria Tutaia, Irene van Dyk, Casey Williams (captain). Julianna Naoupu, Grace Rasmussen, Te Huihnga Reo Selby-Rickit and Anna Thompson complete the Ferns long squad for 2012-3, while Shannon Francoise, Ellen Halpenny, Jess Moulds and Elias Shadrock have been named in the National Accelerant squad.
In a bid to boost the mental as well as physical wellbeing of its senior team, the Jamaica Netball Association (JNA) has engaged the services of noted sports psychologist Kadija Richards ahead of the side's upcoming test series against England. Richards has previously worked with the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) and Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) and will be undertaking group, as well as individual, sessions with the squad, before and during the series. The Jamaican Sunshine Girls recently moved ahead of England in the world rankings after victory in the Americas Federation of Netball Associations (AFNA) Championships.
The Netball Association of Tanzania, CHANETA, has this week conformed that current national coach Mary Protas is to remain in post, after establishing systems for the measurement, monitoring and evaluation of game's development and performance across the country. Protas took over as Tanzania's head coach in early 2011, replacing Australian Simone McKinnis.
Future Fiji internationals could be on display this week, when almost 2,400 young players from 20 districts across the country take part in the Primary Schools Inter-District Netball Championships, to be played at the National Netball Centre in Suva. The Fiji Primary Schools Netball Association has worked closely with Netball Fiji to stage the tournament, and will be using the competition as a showcase to attract commercial sponsorship for future tournaments.