Pepe's Loose to Cook Islands in Close Match
News from Raratonga today reported that PNG went down to the Cook Islands in a very tight match 59 -57. Two games were played on Thursday evening with Fiji beating Samoa 50 - 45 after trailing for at each turn. The Kaiviti must have really put on the after burners after trailing by to nets at the third quarter 37-39.
PNG played the Cook Islands in the second of last nights events and trailed at each quarter by two nets. Near the Hoop is hoping we'll get some actual game reports to offer in the coming days but the scores as published by the Cook Islands Sporting Pulse Netball site are as follows.
Those wishing to keep abreast or results should visit the following address;
Cook Islands Netball Web Site - Supported by Sporting Pulse
From what we can tell, the Pepe's really had to dig deep, bringing the score back from a 10 point deficit to almost winning the match, with time denying the Pepe's a spectacular finish.
Today PNG plays in the first match against Samoa at 4:30 in the afternoon about (7:30 pm PNG time) and Fiji take on the Cooks at 6:45 (
While in the midst of the PCNC Finals hype we forget that our Pepe's leave this weekend for their Pacific Netball Series campaign in the Cook Islands during the first week of June.
Knowing the taskmasters Pole Kassman and Mike Petrides are, their charges be as ready as they will ever be going into the competition next month.
As a netball fraternity we should all be sparing a moment of thought for the squad of 13 heading overseas and wishing them the best of luck over the coming weeks. They all have the right to hold their heads up high and fly the flag with pride.
The team leaves for Brisbane for a short training stay and some game time with local Brisbane clubs before heading off to RaraTonga via Auckland a few days later.
We'll be expecting to hear good news and even marvelous news if things go well, but either way, we can be assured the ladies will be giving their best for PNG and as expected, Near the Hoop will be carrying news of their efforts as they come to hand.
Papua New Guinea has had a representative netball team since the mid 60s while still under the Australian Administration, but it was not until the 69's South Pacific Games in Port Moresby that they made a name for themselves in the region. It was at these games that PNG won gold but could not be awarded a medal because only three countries were represented. To this date PNG has chased that elusive gold medal.
Since the 69 games a team has always represented the country at every regional and international meet and almost at every NSW State Championships.
Three names that will always be associated with netball in that period and through to the 80's are Veitu Apana (Diro) and Lady Clelland, the wife of Sir Donald Clelland who was the Administrator of Papua at the time. Later, in the mid 70's and through till the late 80's, it was to be Veitu Diro and Rita Flynn, to whom the netball courts in Port Moresby have honored with naming, that were the driving force behind netball in PNG. Of course until the early 70's the team represented the "Territory of Papua and New Guinea" and after self-government in 1973 and then independence, the team represented the newly independent State of Papua New Guinea.
The use of the name "Pepe's" has been only a recent inclusion, coined in 1990 by Veitu Diro and a small group of netball executives when looking for a mascot that would represent beauty, gracefulness, guile and strength, all characteristic the PNG national netball team was blessed with. "Pepe" in the Keapara dialect of the Central Province means butterfly and out of a simple gesture of kinship and identity, an icon for the national netball team was created and has since become accepted by the greater netball community. The name Pepe has also been exported with each representative commitment in the global netball world. Today, the PNG representative side is known internationally as "The Pepe's"
Selected from all available players in the country, the Pepe's is the only team permitted to officially represent the country at international meets.
Selections for the Pepe's are scrutinised and then ratified by a panel of elected selectors within the PNG Netball Federation (PNGNF) which represents the collective affiliation of netball associations across Papua New Guinea. It is the only body recognised by the PNG Sports Federation and the Sports Commission to oversee the conduct of netball in PNG.
Officially there are twelve members of any Pepe Squad with three non traveling reserves (named during the selection process) on call when required.
This year an invitation to train was issued to 43 hopefuls in late January 2010 from which a team would be selected. 32 including several Australian based candidates from a possible 35 availed themselves for selection over two grueling days in Pot Moresby on the 17th and 18th of April 2010.
On 29th April 2010, a team was announced by Julienne Maliaki, Secretary of the PNG Netball Federation, that would represent PNG at the Pacific Netball Series in the Cook Islands in June 2010. The Pacific Netball Series is the IFNA sanctioned series among what is considered the four top nations in the region, excluding of course Australia and New Zealand.
The Pepe's have a major sponsor who with their sponsorship have the naming rights over the Pepe's. This association with the Pepe's now enters its fifth year.
Therefore the Pacific MMI Pepe's for 2010 are as listed below;
2010 presents some real challenges for the Pepe's who with an extraordinary stroke of luck, make their first ever appearance on the Commonwealth Games stage. With an ever increasing focus on doing well, they carry the expectations of an entire country hungry for success.
There are three main international commitments for the Pepe's over the next 12 or so months. The first is the Pacific Netball Series in the Cook Islands in June 2010 which is a measure of how we are positioned in the region, the Commonwealth Games in India in October 2010 which provides PNG the perfect stage to compete against world class oppositions in a single venue and the World Netball Championships in Singapore in 2011.
Each provides a different set of challenges in the Pepe's campaign for international recognition but for a country who's domestic netball structure is a most rudimentary collection of amateur associations, the Pepe's, at every stage, can hold their heads up high and be proud in their achievements.