A very happy new year to all our members, sponsors, supporters and followers around the world!
The Netball Association of Zambia has named a long squad of 22 players from which the country's squad for the Netball World Cup in Sydney in August will be drawn. Pauline Nsombo will once again coach the side, with Kelly Mwanza named as assistant coach. Ethel Pamba and Tina Saikolo are named in the senior side for the first time, having previously represented the country at U21 level, while Precious Chope, Kalonde Mwale and Esther Nyirenda also called up for their first national selection. The squad will meet for its first training camp next Monday, 5 January 2015. For more information about the squad, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/252024088214590/
England's squad arrives in Jamaica on Sunday for a three match test series, to be played on 10, 11 and 13 January, which forms part of the build up for the World Cup later this year. England will be without mercurial midcourter Serena Guthrie, who continues to recover from a broken arm sustained during the Fast5 competition, and will be led by co-captains Jade Clarke and Pamela Cookey, who continues her return to international competition following her recovery from an Achilles tendon injury that kept her out of last year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. The three-game SVL Sunshine series will be broadcast locally by Television Jamaica (TVJ) and through live streaming provided by Netball Jamaica’s official web site, MyNetballJamaica.com.
Following weeks of intensive training, Fiji Pearls head coach Kate Carpenter will name her squad this weekend to face the Silver Ferns and Samoa at the Oceania Netball Tri Series, to be held in Suva later this month. 12 players will be named from the training squad of 18 for the series, but the others will remain in training and consideration for tournaments later in the year, including the Netball World Cup.
In domestic competitions, Trinidad and Tobago's Marvellites One made a clean sweep of the titles as the 2014 bpTT Mayaro Netball League concluded its 2014 season last Saturday. The side was dominant in all competitions, taking the league, knock out and "Big 4" titles. Shantel Seemungal of Manzanilla Netballers, was the other big winner, taking the league's Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Best Defensive Player awards.
Loughborough Lightning has secured the services of two well known overseas internationals for the 2015 UK Netball Superleague season. South African captain Marika Holtzhausen will be the first player from her country to line up in the UK's leading competition: with 62 international caps to her name, she will add experience and leadership qualities to the side, and her ability to play in all three attacking positions will add versaility to the young squad. In another first, experienced international Peace Proscovia will be the first Ugandan to play in the competition alongside Holtzhausen - she is set to arrive in the UK over the weekend.
Finally, congratulations to INF board member and former Netball New Zealand CEO Raelene Castle who has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to sponrt and business in the New Year's Honours list. She spent six years at the helm of Netball New Zealand, playing a key role in establishing the ANZ Championships, as well as helping to develop the Fast5 format of the game.