WINDHOEK – While the ladies’ game of netball has been cruising at a snail’s pace of late, as a result of a combination of hiccups – ranging from lack of sufficient funding, inadequate facilities, and many others – athletes are not discouraged and remain upbeat.
This was confirmed by the large contingent of local netballers who converged at the modest Wanderers indoor netball courts south of Windhoek yesterday.
Players and coaches were taken through the ropes on the finer points in modern netball under the astute stewardship of former Australian player Lisa Alexander. More than 200 participants took part in the three-day coaching clinic with retired players, coaches, schools and current players all in attendance.
Namibia’s netball guru, Joan Smit, could not hide her excitement at the unfolding of events and praised Wanderers club for taking the initiative to invite a top-notch coach to local shores.
“Wanderers deserve a pat on the back for the wonderful job. This was an eye opener and I’m hopeful those who came out here have learnt something constructive and will be able to plough back the experience gained to their subjects,” she emphasized.
The former Victorian State versatile player needs no introduction in the global game, having represented Australia at senior level with great aplomb while she also mentored the Melbourne Phoenix side in the Commonwealth Bank Trophy – steering them to back-to-back wins in 2002 and 2003.
Alexander was duly appointed head coach of the Australian Under-21 team between 2006 and 2007 before switching to the role of assistant coach for the Adelaide Thunderbirds the following year. The team clinched the ANZ Championships title in 2009, the same year she was appointed in the same role for World VII team.
In July 2000, Alexander was bestowed with the Australian Sports Medal for her unselfish contribution towards the growth of the game, as both player and coach, and went on to receive the prestigious AIS Sport Performance Award last year.
The Alexander-coached Diamonds were victorious in all 13 tests played last year – ending Australia’s 12-year gold medal drought at the quarterly Commonwealth Games in convincing fashion dispatching bitter rivals New Zealand by rattling the basket 18 more than their opponents.