Netball body picks 30 players for continental showpiece
More than 200 girls showed up for a two-day trial event at Ulinzi Sports Complex in Nairobi over the weekend, for the national netball ladies team selection as Kenya gears up for the Africa region, World Youth Cup qualifiers to be held in Pretoria, South Africa from March 14- 24 this year.
Speaking on Sunday after naming the provisional squad, head coach Mary Walubengo said that Kenya Netball Federation (KNF) had less than a month to prepare and come up with the final best 12 girls from the list of 30 selected during the trials in Nairobi.
“ The talent from secondary schools and colleges is immense as we have seen for these two days. I wish we could have more time because I have seen great players who need more in coaching so that they can learn the tactical and technical side of the game and that’s why I am here,” said Walubengo adding that with more competitions, Kenya is destined for greatness with the youth transitioning to the senior team.
Federation chairperson Immaculate Kabutha added that if Kenya will triumph in March from South Africa the girls will head to the global event to be held in Gibraltar, August 2024 as she emphasized the need to develop more youth players even as KNF continues to partner with the ministries of education and that one of the youth, sports, arts and culture.
A total of 11 Counties with 20 teams were represented with players mainly from secondary schools and colleges flocking the Ulinzi Sports Complex indoor arena ready to impress a panel of coaches led by senior national team captain Parin Simiyu and George Adoyo who will serve as assistants to Walubengo.
150 of them were dropped on Saturday leaving only 50 for Sunday who were again trimmed to the 30 required for the KNF provisional squad that is set for a non residential camp that will come up with the final 12 who will represent Kenya in South Africa in March.
Among the notable names that have made the provisional squad are Ulinzi Sword’s 18 year old Doreen Akinyi who just fresh from Kobala Secondary School made her debut with the senior national team last year in December during the African Championships in Gaborone and 19 year old Miriam Nekesa Wamani of Kenya Prisons, another prodigy to watch among the youngsters.