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Talented U23s athletes Ana and Ky-Mani represent Samoa in PacificAus Sports Netball Series

Talented U23s athletes Ana and Ky-Mani represent Samoa in PacificAus Sports Netball Series

Pictured: Samoan National Netball Team featuring Anastasia Afoa (back row, 4th from left) and Ky-Mani Schwenke (back row, 3rd from left)

Two IMB South Coast Blaze athletes selected to play for Samoa in PacificAus Sports Netball Series

Family is at the heart of Anastasia Afoa’s and Ky-Mani Schwenke’s netball journeys.

The talented IMB South Coast Blaze U23 players both say being selected to play for their native country, Samoa, in the current PacificAus Sports Netball Series, is an achievement they’re both proud of. But it’s representing their Samoan families that brings them the most joy.

It’s the first time Blaze athletes have been selected to play for a national team in an international tournament, an achievement not lost on Anastasia and Ky-Mani. Both players took the court together for the first time on Wednesday with an important and impressive 59 – 36 win over Singapore.

Ana and KyMani warm up during PacificAusSport series

Talented defender Anastasia said:

” I’m so blessed and grateful for this opportunity to not only represent my country but my family. My family plays a big role in my netball journey & to have the chance to represent where we came from is one of the best feelings in the world. It is an honour to be playing & training with experienced players & to be learning off them as well. Being a part of this community has taught me a lot of ins and outs of the netball world. I am very excited to debut and put on that blue dress to showcase what we’re made of and who we are! “

Ana takes the court for Samoa, pictured 4th from left

Skilled shooter Ky-Mani said learning new skills from her Samoan teammates has been a highlight so far.

” I’m so glad to have made the cut to play for Samoa and to represent my family, especially my grandparents. It is such an honour to train with experienced players who have previously been in the last World Cup. They have taught me some new things that I haven’t used whilst being a holding GS. Cannot wait for the PacificAus games to show the other teams what Samoa is capable of on court. “

Ky-Mani sings the Samoan national anthem with her teammates, pictured 4th from left

Regan Tweddle, Head Coach of the IMB Blaze U23s, is excited not only for the two athletes from the U23s that are representing Samoa but also for the connection with Samoa Netball and the high-performance pathway that these athletes are paving the way for other inspiring Blaze netballers. With a number of other Pacific Islander athletes in the South Coast U23s Team, eligible to play in future PacificAus Sports Netball Series or World Cups for example, the future is looking bright at Blaze.

IMB South Coast Blaze Chairperson Karina Franke congratulated Ky-Mani and Anastasia on their selection in the Samoan team.

I congratulate both players for this incredible achievement and I know they’ll make our Blaze family proud,”

Being able to play in an international team will bring more breadth of experience and skills to both Ky-Mani and Anastasia, which will benefit the U23s side immensely.”

Netball Australia is hosting the first PacificAus Sports Netball Series from March 21 to March 26 in Sydney.

The series aims to provide high-level competition for the national teams of Netball Australia’s PacificAus Sports partners – Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga. Singapore has also been invited to participate in the series.

The current series marks the first time the teams have competed in an international competition since the pandemic started.

For more information visit Netball Australia: https://netball.com.au/pacificaus-sports-netball-series