The stage is set as six formidable netball teams prepare to compete for the coveted trophy in the upcoming Mirxes Nations Cup, which will unfold at the OCBC Arena from 22 to 28 October 2023.
The Mirxes Nations Cup will feature a round-robin format and will include top-ranked teams, namely Cook Islands (ranked 19th), Sri Lanka (20), Papua New Guinea (36), Canada (unranked) and Singapore’s very own Opens (26) and A teams.
For the Singapore Opens team, the primary focus for the week is building on the momentum and success they achieved at the World Cup, where they switched to a shorter and faster style of play.
Since the August tournament, experienced shooters Charmaine Soh and Lee Pei Shan have rejoined the national team, adding more depth to the team and offering a different style of play.
Co-captain Toh Kai Wei said: “I think we have made adjustments to adapt to Charmaine and Pei Shan’s playing style while also having them adapt to our new style of play. I think that’s something fans can look out for this tournament, and we want to end the year on a high with a good result.”
Expressing her excitement about playing in front of the local crowd, Toh added: “I think the fans are very excited after what we achieved at the World Cup, and we are excited to show our fans what we have prepared.”
The Singapore A team, Netball Singapore’s developmental squad, returns to the Nations Cup, building on their team’s introduction to last year’s competition. For co-captain Miki Ng, the Mirxes Nations Cup is about gaining more experience and working cohesively as a team to achieve more collectively.
Ahead of tomorrow’s kick-off, Cook Islands Captain Marjorie Katrina Toru shared her excitement about her team’s return to Singapore: “We’ve got a new bunch of girls, with a mix of experience and a few debutants. We definitely want to place in the top three. It’s something that we’ve been working hard towards in the last couple of months.”
After a ten-year hiatus from the Nations Cup, Sri Lanka is eager to make their mark again. In their last appearance in 2013, they secured a 4th place finish.
Captain Dulangi Wannithilake, who has 45 caps to her name, is looking ahead to next year’s Asian Netball Championships, saying: “We have a new team; seven players who are playing their first international tournament. So we’re focused on our young girls getting the experience of playing internationally.”
For the Canadian team, this event marks their first international match in three years, having been hampered by COVID-19 restrictions. Their expectation is clear, with captain Amonda Francis saying: “For us, our expectation is to just go out, work hard, and compete well in every single game this week.”
Papua New Guinea, known for their historic victory in the 2008 Nations Cup when they were the first overseas team to win the tournament since its introduction in 2006, is determined to reclaim the title. Co-captain Jeperth Tulapi, who is making her return to the national team since 2019, declared: “We’re taking every opportunity. We want to win, and that’s what we’re focused on.”
The Mirxes Nations Cup will take place from 22 to 28 October 2023 at the OCBC Arena (Hall 1). Tickets are available for purchase through Ticketmaster.
For more information on the Mirxes Nations Cup, follow Netball Singapore (@netballsingapore) on social media for the latest updates.