A lack of self confidence is undermining the Silver Ferns, former captain Casey Kopua says.
After another loss to hosts England in their opening match of the Quad series match in Liverpool earlier in the week, the Silver Ferns must beat the world-champion Diamonds if they are to stay on track for pre-tournament goal of two wins from three goals set by coach Noeline Taurua.
The Silver Ferns have won just two of the eight tests they have played under Taurua and with the World Cup looming in July New Zealand’s fortunes need a desperate boost.
Back in the side after a three-year absence, Kopua admits “there are patches where everybody has doubt”.
There are also girls in the team, including myself, who haven’t played together before either so there is a lack of real time connection as a group, but things are moving forward every time we get together.”
She is adamant, though, that fear of making a mistake rather than simply playing is not something that is hindering the side.
“No, that is something that is strongly talked about by the coaches – ‘It’s not what you can’t do it’s what you can do’.”
Kopua said players were encouraged to try things.
“Otherwise you are just playing safe netball and not showing the strength of the individual.”
Ahead of the Quad series, Taurua stated anything less than two wins from three games would be unsatisfactory. That leaves the side having to beat Australia on the weekend and back it up a day later with a win over South Africa.
“It’s not an ideal situation, having to win two from two, but it adds a bit of hype and accountability for us and we simply need to do whatever it takes to get the win.”
Failing to chalk up a win against either England and Australia in this tournament would be a major setback with the World Cup just a few months away.
But Kopua maintains not beating Australia on Sunday doesn’t automatically write them off as world cup contenders.
“I think we have the right processes and strategies in place and it’s just a matter of executing that from paper to training to a match.
“There’s enough time for everybody to be doing something everyday to make themselves a better player and better person between now and the world cup.”
New Zealand’s first world cup match is against Malawi on Friday, 12 July.