Six new players bring their own international flavour to NSL

From left: The international players in Singapore's Netball Super League this year are Sophie Komba (Magic Marlins), Lilian Sylidion (Blaze Dolphins), Irene Kanile (Fier Orcas), Alesi Waqa (Mission Mannas), Hildah Binang (Tiger Sharks) and Letang Mog
From left: The international players in Singapore's Netball Super League this year are Sophie Komba (Magic Marlins), Lilian Sylidion (Blaze Dolphins), Irene Kanile (Fier Orcas), Alesi Waqa (Mission Mannas), Hildah Binang (Tiger Sharks) and Letang Mogotlhwane (Sneakers Stingrays).PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

The Magic Marlins, runners-up in last season's Netball Super League (NSL), will be hoping to go one better this year and clinch the title.

They are on top of this year's table with 15 points and coach Jolynn Loo is confident that the arrival of Tanzania international Sophie Komba will strengthen her side.

Loo said yesterday: "Sophie injects a different style of play to the competition that gives us more options on attack, allowing us to vary our game strategy."

The 30-year-old Komba is one of six foreign players who joined the six NSL teams for round two, which began last Sunday.

Despite losing the round two opener 50-37 to the Tiger Sharks, Komba, with 30-plus international caps for her country as wing attack, believes the Marlins remain a contender. She said: "If we can play well and avoid the mistakes we made last week, we are going to be champions."

The Mission Mannas, with only one win this term, are also banking on their foreign import to revive their fortunes. Despite winning the NSL in 2014, they have since struggled. They finished fifth last year, and are in the same position now.

Mannas coach Donna Blazey was confident that the presence of experienced Fijian Alesi Waqa will be decisive. The 1.77m centre has played 58 times for Fiji, who are ranked seventh in the world.

Said Blazey: "Alesi has great spatial awareness and mixes up the pace of the game. This will add depth and flair to our mid-court."

The Mannas and Marlins face each other on Saturday at the Toa Payoh Sports Hall, where all remaining fixtures will be held.

Said Waqa: "Our defenders are working as a unit, getting the ball to the attackers. So we need to use the ball properly, and be confident in putting the shots in."

The other four international players are Botswana duo Hildah Binang (Tiger Sharks) and Letang Mogotlhwane (Sneakers Stingrays), Lilian Sylidion (Blaze Dolphins) and Irene Kanile (Fier Orcas), both from Tanzania.

Defending champions Stingrays currently lie joint second in the table with the Tiger Sharks on 13 points, two behind the Marlins.

The final game of Round 2 is on May 1, followed by the semi-finals (May 7) and final (May 14).

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 20, 2016, with the headline 'Six new players bring their own international flavour to NSL'. Print Edition | Subscribe