Under the spotlight – Korovulavula questions recruitment process

The Fiji Pearls during a training session. Picture: NETBALL FIJI/FILE


Former Fiji Pearls assistant coach Filomena Korovulavula says the national side is not ready to play in the Netball World Cup. The World Cup will be held in Cape Town, South Africa from July 28 to August 6.

Korovulavula claimed there was a lack of consistency, support and training for the players.

“We are running out of time,” she said.

“The fitness is not there, they are not ready.

“It’s not only about the training but grooming these players with the right attitude, the mentality and mindset in order to play against the big teams.

“One of the biggest commitments is the input in these girls, it is important that they get the right support and the right training to help develop.

“If players are not showing up then the officials should reflect back on themselves — what are they doing wrong, the kind of coaching that is done.

“It reflects on the performance, if the girls are not performing well on the court then it’s the officials that need to look at themselves.”

She added players needed to look up to a motherly figure who understood and communicated well with them.

“Majority of the players in the squad, I coached them in the under-21 grade, I groomed them, all they need is someone who comes to their level.”

She also questioned the need to invite overseas players when Fiji had the talent.

“What benefit do we have in getting the overseas players? ?What about the development they are talking about, the training academy? Is it a guarantee that these players will improve our standing or win the world cup, I don’t think so.

“Maybe this is why these players have withdrawn.”

She adds it is about time Netball Fiji focused on the under-21 grade with Youth World Cup in 2025.

In response, Netball Fiji CEO Vivan Koster said so far, training was going well for the players since the beginning of their January Boot camp last two weeks ago.

“The girls have been preparing well and we have a good team of trainers helping the players prepare for the 2023 Netball World Cup,” she said.

When asked on why have Netball Fiji recruited overseas-based players when they have an academy to choose from, Koster said majority of the players in their netball academy mainly consisted of 18 and 17 years olds who lacked experience to be playing in a world cup.

“The main reason for the academy is to develop young players. How can we recruit 17, 18 and years old into the Pearls when they have very less experience.

“Their time to represent Fiji will come when they are ready.”

Koster said recruiting local players into the Fiji Pearls was top priority. “After we had selected our local players, we had put out an expression of interest to overseas player if they wanted to join.”

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