Fiji have announced an extended 15-strong squad for the Netball World Cup, with the final 12 players travelling to Liverpool to be finalised in two weeks.
Veteran defender Matila Waqawai is poised attend her fourth World Cup in July, while Una Rauluni and Episake Kahatoka also featured at the last event four years ago.
Four players (Laisani Waqa, Aliso Galo, Merelita Waqanidrola and Kahatoka) were part of the Commonwealth Games team last year while six (Lydia Panapasa, Aliti Toribau, Waqanidrola, Galo, Waqa and Kahatoka) were in the Fiji side that finished fourth in the Netball World Youth Cup in Botswana in 2017.
Matila Vocea, Ema Mualuvu and Sydney-based Kaitlyn Fisher made their test Fiji during the series win in Singapore last month and also featured at the Arafura Games in Darwin, where the Pearls won the gold medal.
UK-based duo Alisi Nawele and Adi Vakaoca Bolakoro are both members of the British Army and represented Fiji during their Europe tour in 2017.
The team leaves for Brisbane early next week for a three week training camp before travelling to Auckland for an international quad series against the Silver Ferns, New Zealand All Stars and the New Zealand Men’s team.
“We are grateful to the Australian Government and Netball Australia, for the funding for the three weeks’ camp in Brisbane,” said Netball Fiji President, Wainikiti Bogidrau.
“The funding means that our athletes are exposed to international training courts, a supportive and enabling environment consisting of excellent support personnel and specialised coaching; and are also able to run through their Netball World Cup schedule – with games planned according to the team’s NWC schedule.
“We are also very thankful to the Government of Fiji and the Fiji National Sports Commission for the continuous financial support in regards to our preparation test matches leading up to the World Cup and for the $486,000 grant to be at the World Cup.”
Fiji squad: (including three non-travelling reserves)
Lydia Panapasa, Unaisi Rauluni, Matila Vocea, Alisi Nawele, Laisani Waqa, Kaitlyn Fisher, Aliso Galo, Aliti Toribau, Asilika Sevutia, Ema Mualuvu,
Episake Kahatoka, Adi Vakaoca Bolakoro, Kelera Nawai, Merelita Waqanidrola, Matila Waqawai.