“Cape Town here we come,” said Fiji Pearls head coach Unaisi Rokoura, after Fiji beat Cook Islands 51-34 to become the second team from Oceania to qualify to the 2023 Netball World Cup.
Fiji started strongly and dominated all aspects of play not allowing the Cook Islanders to build any momentum. With the backing of a very vocal home crowd, there was no stopping Fiji.
They now join the Tonga Tala as the two Pacific islands teams to represent the region in the World Cup.
Fiji started the tournament well defeating Papua New Guinea Pepes 74 – 32 on the first day, then suffered a shocking 59 – 29 loss to Tonga and later edged Samoa 45 – 43 in a thrilling match.
“I am overwhelmed right now, it is the end of a very long and stressful week and we are happy to be qualifying for the world cup,” Rokoura said.
The Fiji netball team has competed in nine netball World Cups and has only missed the 1995 games in Birmingham, England.
“We knew if we did not qualify for the World Cup this year, then we will have to wait for another four years, so for us, it was all about giving it our all and everything that we got, not only for us as a team, but for the people of Fiji,” Rokoura said.
Fiji’s best record in the Netball World Cup was back in 1999, they finished sixth after losing 57- 49 to South Africa in the fifth place playoff.