| Fadhil Yunus |
BRUNEI Darussalam national netball coach Thilaka Jinadasa has plans to make amendments from the recent Kota Kinabalu trip and implement what they have worked on during training ahead of a competitive series against the Sri Lanka School Team from April 4 to 11.
The matches will be played at either the Multi-Purpose Hall of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex or Indoor Stadium.
Jinadasa’s charges are currently gearing up for the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games which will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in August.
The national netball team passed with flying colours in the Kota Kinabalu test recently but Jinadasa refused to rest on their laurels.
“This competition series provides an opportunity for us to do amendments from what happened in Kota Kinabalu and do the corrections, implement what we’ve practiced all this time. This is the objective of this series,” Jinadasa said in an interview at the Multi-Purpose Hall of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex.
“That’s why I invited the school team because the Sri Lanka School Team is a bit tough. They are all under-20 girls so they will be very energetic.”
The national coach wanted her players to perform with high intensity as part of the preparations for the regional competition.
“My girls have to be playing under pressure with the intensity so I want to see how they face this challenge,” she said.
Jinadasa has also plans to iron out the weaknesses and key aspects of the game which requires enhancement which she hoped to come good over the course of the series.
“During the KK tour, I identified that the defenders’ movements were a bit slow and the reaction was not there so we were doing some defending.
“Actually I was more focused on developing the defence line and implementing new skills.”
Three of Jinadasa’s defenders have only been absorbed into the team this year with one categorised as a youth player.
She added that they are the “least experienced” compared to the other positions in the squad mainly the attack highlighting that they need to gain experience.
“They executed well in KK and there were a lot of turnovers,” the Sri Lankan said in her assessment of the newcomers.
The Asian Netball Championship-winning coach has also revisited the issue on centre passes which is highly important especially preserving a short number of passes to register a point.
“The other thing that I have identified is my centre pass. We scored centre passes but it won’t go as I’ve planned like 1-2-3 shooting so sometimes it gets disturbed so I want the players.
“That’s why the main focus of this event is to look at the centre pass percentage because it was very low of around 60 to 70 per cent.
“If we cannot score our centre pass within three or four passes under 10 seconds it will going to be a tough task. If we cannot survive our centre pass it will be difficult in the SEA Games to get opponents’ centre pass.
“We need to stick with our centre pass. That is the other objective I am going to be focusing during this game.”
She underlined the importance to build on their centre passes as they are likely to be to face major difficulties in the SEA Games.
Asked about the team’s readiness, Jinadasa said that they are well prepared for the school’s tour adding that they are familiar with their style of play and implementing skills for them to execute during the series.
The Sri Lankan also said that their main advantage is that half of her team is very experienced with eight Asian Netball Championship players and six players from the previous SEA Games squad in her disposal as well as few newcomers in the side.
Asked about her expectations, Jinadasa said, “Of course my expectation is to win. But it’s not just about winning for me.
“How they win the game is important for me. I really don’t know how these youth players are playing in Sri Lanka.
“They are school winners in their age group. They must be tough but I know they are very young and experience wise we have advantage,” she said.
“Who knows that Sri Lanka is unpredictable so they can do anything anytime? We have seen Sri Lankans coming here like the Mercantile who have challenged these youth players.
“So it’s all about how you put on the day. I’m sure it will be very challenging but I’m sure my girls will do well,” the coach said.