Kia Magic’s budding young netball talent continues to gain recognition after exciting shooting prospect Malia Paseka was named as a training partner for the Silver Ferns tour to the UK in January.
Highly regarded by Silver Ferns coach Wai Taumaunu, Paseka,19, is part of the National Accelerant squad, where players are considered to have the potential to reach full Silver Ferns status. A naturally talented playmaker, Paseka was an influential figure in the New Zealand under-21 team’s recent success at the World Youth Championships.
Four players, including Magic’s Courtney Tairi, will travel as training partners to the UK with the 12-strong Silver Ferns team.
Recently, Paseka’s equally-youthful Magic team-mates Jamie-Lee Price, Brooke Leaver and Sam Sinclair stamped their mark as players with bright futures after being named in Netball New Zealand’s (NNZ) under-21 development programme.
With the end of the current four-year cycle for this age group now complete, culminating with the World Youth Championships win in Scotland, the programme is in a development phase focusing on player support and development.
This includes individual performance plans, coaching support and access to support services through NNZ to assist the players’ development and preparation for the 2014 season ahead and beyond.
National selectors have attended tournaments throughout New Zealand all year to observe and track players and have identified this trio as part of an 11-strong exciting group of talented athletes.
NNZ High Performance Programme Director Lynette Grace said the selected athletes all deserve their selection in the NZU21 Development Squad.
“All 11 players have stood out over the past 12 months and have demonstrated the talent and skill to develop successful netball careers,” she said.
“We’re delighted to be able to offer them the support they need to take their netball to the next level and build towards the future.”
Price, who already has an ANZ Championship season with Magic under her belt, and Sinclair were co-captains of the New Zealand Secondary Schools team this year while Leaver was a late call-up to the New Zealand under-21 team. The trio were key figures in Waikato/Bay of Plenty winning the inaugural national under-23 title earlier this year.