Top players fail to attend Desert Jewels trials

• By Michael Uugwanga

THREE senior Desert Jewels players failed to attend the first national netball trials that were held two weeks ago in Windhoek.

The three players that did not respond to the call up are Uahengisa Tjozongoro of Mighty Gunners netball club, Selma Bittler of Afrocat Lions netball club and Rachelle Roetz of Eleven Arrows, due to work and other personal reasons.

However on a positive note, the duo of Irlyn Pura and Luise Kauseue who were undoubtedly the deadliest partnership for Namibian Correctional Service (NCS) netball club in the just ended MTC Netball Premier League, when they guided their team to league glory, are expected to attend the next trials scheduled to take place from October 22 to 24.

The Desert Jewels are preparing for the upcoming Debmarine Pent Series that is expected to take place from October 31 to November 5 2021 and for the Africa Netball Championship to be held from November 9 to16.

Bittler who has been part of the Desert Jewels set-up since 2018 could not attend the national trials due to club commitment, as her team was involved in crucial matches in the ongoing Khomas Netball Region, of which the team is on the brink of promotion to next season’s MTC NNPL.

“I had league commitments and I communicated this to Netball Namibia. All I was told is that they (national selectors) will get back to me but they never. There will be other national trials,” she said.

Roetz could not join the trials due to work commitment, said her club coach Gones Musambani.

“There was miscommunication because when Roetz was called up she could not attend the trials because she is only few weeks at her job and she could not leave as she is supposedly to work at least two to three months before she can be granted permission,” said Musambani.

Tjozongoro, who has been part and parcel of the team said: “Once the Pent Series starts I will be writing examinations, that is why I did not bother to join. I did communicate my absence from the trials with the technical team.”

Asked to give her own opinion regarding the absenteeism of the senior players, coach Julene Meyer said she is happy with the current crop of players that attended the trials.

“I am happy with the group we’ve identified to invite to trials, good mixture of youth and experience. We have also included some in form players from MTC as preparation time is short leading into back to back tournaments both will be physically very demanding so we need to ensure if there are injuries in Pent we have sufficient players prepared to step into team without hitches,” she said.