Netball: Nations Cup returns in December with six teams including S’pore, Fiji

Singapore, Fiji, Ireland, Malaysia and Botswana will feature at the event. PHOTO: NETBALL ORGANISATION SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE – The Nations Cup is returning to the Republic for the first time since 2019 and the Dec 4-10 tournament will feature six teams, the organisers announced on Tuesday.

Two-time champions and world No. 34 Singapore, 2011 winners Fiji (15th), Ireland (24th), Malaysia (25th), Botswana (28th) and a Singapore A team will feature at the event, held annually here since 2006.

It will be played in a round-robin format, with the top two teams advancing to the final at the OCBC Arena. Namibia beat Singapore 49-42 in the final of the last edition.

Singapore will be returning to the court after September’s Asian Netball Championship, where they finished runners-up to Sri Lanka, and will be led by co-captains Toh Kai Wei and Khor Ting Fang again.

Defender Sindhu Nair, 27, said: “It’s a privilege for us to get to play on home ground again.

“The atmosphere we experienced during the Asian Netball Championship was electrifying, and knowing that the crowd was behind us no matter what really elevated our spirits and performance during the competition.

“We’ve been building on the lessons we learnt from that outing and fine-tuning some aspects of our game, and we can’t wait to put it all together at Nations Cup 2022.”

The Singapore A team will feature up-and-coming players such as shooter Goh Wei Ping, who made her international debut at the Asian tournament, as well as veteran defender Aqilah Andin, who is returning to competition after giving birth in July.

The 26-year-old has 80 caps and was part of the winning team at the 2014 edition, as well as the 2019 Netball World Cup and SEA Games squads.

She said: “It’s wonderful to be able to return to competitive netball on home ground and even more so at a tournament that holds such special memories.

“I’ve been playing netball for many years and had the chance to learn from senior players who have guided me well throughout my career.

“The Singapore A team has many talented rising stars and I’m looking forward to being teammates with them and enjoying ourselves on court next month.”

Netball Singapore president Jessica Tan said the return of the association’s flagship event was fitting as it celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2022. She said: “This year presents a treat for netball fans in Singapore – we had the Asian Netball Championship here earlier and, with the upcoming Nations Cup, there’s lots of exciting netball for everyone to enjoy.

“Netball has grown in popularity over the last few decades and it is a well-loved sport here. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to the OCBC Arena next month.”

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.