SINGAPORE: The Singapore national netball team will rekindle their long-time rivalry with Causeway neighbour Malaysia during the upcoming three-match test series in February, marking the first time the two nations have faced each other on the court since Sept 2022.
The first match will be on Feb 15 at the OCBC Arena Hall 3 at 8pm with limited standing spots. The remaining matches are scheduled for Feb 17 and 18 at the Our Tampines Hub at 10.30am. All matches are open to the public for free.
Current Singapore vice-captain Aqilah Andin will surely feel jittery and immense pride as she awaits the match against Malaysia with the rest of her teammates.
The wing defence has the opportunity to etch her name in Singapore’s netball history book during the test series, and it will serve as a testament to her dedication and unwavering passion towards netball since she was young.
“It’s been a dream of mine to earn 100 caps, and I’m excited to have the chance to achieve this feat during this Singapore-Malaysia test series. I can’t wait to share this milestone with my teammates in front of my family, friends, and incredible fans,” expressed Aqilah, who made her first appearance for the Singapore national netball team at 16.
During their previous encounter with Malaysia, Singapore had bragging rights, winning by a comfortable 13-goal margin (54-41) during the 2022 Asian Netball Championships semi-finals held in the city-state.
It was a jubilant scene for Singapore as the win earned them a spot at the 2023 Netball World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa.
It was also a night to remember for wing-attack Kimberly Lim, who achieved a 100th appearance for Singapore during the match and goal-shooter Lee Pei Shan, as she converted 90% of her attempts to contribute 35 goals for the team.
The Singapore team competing in the test series remains largely unchanged from those featured in the 2023 Mirxes Nations Cup. There are two new additions to the squad, defender K. Mishalenee and shooter Goh Wei Ping, following the retirements of stalwarts Charmaine Soh and wing-attack Lim.
Singapore national netball coach Annette Bishop expressed the team’s anticipation for the challenge ahead, saying, “The upcoming test series against Malaysia provides an excellent opportunity for our team to measure up against a formidable rival and build momentum for the upcoming competitions.”
The Malaysia-Singapore test series will be a prelude to a packed schedule for the Singapore national netball team this year, which includes the 2024 Asian Netball Championships, the Mirxes Nations Cup, and the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.
It will also be Singapore’s first outing since the Nations Cup last year, where they ended a 16-year wait to lift the trophy as they defeated Papua New Guinea 59-56 in a thrilling final at the OCBC Arena, Singapore Sports Hub.
The tournament also marked the end of veterans Soh’s and Lim’s illustrious career with the Singapore national netball team.
Soh is arguably one of the most iconic netball players for the national team. She made her debut for Singapore against Jamaica at the Netball World Cup held in Singapore in 2011.
Over the years, she has been a key player in many successful tournaments with Singapore, including those that won the gold medals in the 2012 and 2014 Asian Netball Championships and the 2015 Southeast Asian Games.
Meanwhile, 29-year-old Lim debuted at the 2014 Asian Netball Championship and had 119 appearances for Singapore before she decided to call time on her netball career.