SEA Games Netball champs change line-up for World Cup
Netball Singapore name squad for Sydney battle, two from SEA Games team missing
The Singapore netball team were one of the headline acts for the country at the SEA Games here last month.
Playing in front of packed crowds at the OCBC Arena, they stormed to gold, overcoming arch-rivals Malaysia in the final.
Yesterday, Netball Singapore (NS) announced the 12 players for the World Cup, which will be held in Sydney from Aug 7 to 16, and two members of the SEA Games-winning squad were dropped from the line-up.
Shina Teo and Yasmin Ho will not feature for the reigning Asian champions in Australia.
Shooter Yu Mei Ling, 23, and defender Olivia Flanagan, 32, were recalled following successful rehabilitation from anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries.
The decision came after NS conducted trials 10 days after the SEA Games netball event concluded on June 7, with 23 players (and two training partners) battling for the 12 slots.
Speaking to The New Paper last night, national coach Ruth Aitken said: "We looked at the players' fitness level, style of play and how they mixed with the other players during selection trials.
"We needed players who could contribute to a team that would be playing many difficult games over a few days.
"Shina and Yasmin missed out not because they are new to the team. They played well at the SEA Games, but Mei Ling and Olivia had an edge over them because they have more relevant experience from international competitions where they performed well.
"Mei Ling and Olivia also performed extremely well during the trials."
Singapore hosted the last World Cup in 2011 and finished 15th out of 16 teams.
The goal this year is to improve their ranking.
"We are anticipating difficult challenges, but we would like to be more successful this time round," Aitken said.
"My players will have to adjust to playing in an international environment, against bigger bodies, at a higher intensity. We will take it one game at a time.
"We hope to make an impression and ensure that every team we come up against will know that they have played against a country coming up on the world stage."
Singapore, ranked No. 17 in the world, have been drawn with Malawi (No. 5), South Africa (No. 6) and Sri Lanka (No. 24) in their first-round pool at the World Cup.
Said Aitken: "We intend to secure our first game against Sri Lanka before anything else, as we know their play.
"South Africa and Malawi will be a huge challenge. But we have a few days in Sydney to train and acclimatise before the World Cup begins.
"We will be playing friendly matches against Fiji and Uganda then, so we'll be able to get a feel of the African style of play."
It is really hard to predict how well we will do. It is going to be a difficult competition and we haven’t seen a lot of the other teams’ playing styles. We hope to play better than we did at the Asian Championships and SEA Games.
— Singapore netball coach Ruth Aitken