Ameliaranne Ekenasio To Miss Netball Nations Cup In January
Silver Ferns captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio is set to miss January’s Vitality Netball Nations Cup in England.
The 32-year-old has requested to sit out the start of the Ferns’ 2024 international campaign which begins when they take on hosts England, Australia, and Uganda in Leeds and London from 20-27 January.
Ekenasio, who has 70 Test caps, captained the Silver Ferns at this year’s Netball World Cup in South Africa, and also guided the team to the Taini Jamison Trophy win over England, and a narrow Constellation Cup series defeat (on goal difference) to Australia last month.
Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua said player welfare remained at the forefront of management’s planning and she backed Ekenasio in her request for some time away from the game.
“As part of our World Cup build-up this year, Ameliaranne, as Silver Ferns captain, has had a particularly heavy workload which was followed by a busy international season over the last two months,” she said.
“She captains our team with immense pride and brings experience and a calming presence to the Silver Ferns. The physical loading in any pinnacle year is massive, and we want all athletes to have longevity in our game. We are mindful of the commitment that is required to keep body and mind balanced and it’s important that she takes time to rest and rejuvenate.
“We will miss Meels when we head to the Nations Cup but as we move into a new four-year-cycle, this is also an exciting moment for another player to lead the Silver Ferns, to grow our leadership group, and the depth of the Silver Ferns’ shooting circle. It gives others the opportunity to step up, which is a positive thing.”
Ekenasio made her Silver Ferns debut in 2014 against the Australian Diamonds and has gone on to become an influential attacker in the Ferns’ game. She was a key member in the 2019 Netball World Cup win in England and was first named captain in 2020 ahead of the Nations Cup.
She is set to play for the AVIS Magic in the 2024 ANZ Premiership.
Ekenasio said it was a tough decision to take a break, but it was important to have some time away to rest the body after what had been a huge year of netball.
“This is an opportunity to recharge the batteries, freshen up and spend some quality time with family ahead to the build-up to next year’s ANZ Premiership,” Ekenasio said.
A three-day Silver Ferns trial begins in Auckland on Sunday with the team for the Nations Cup to be announced on Thursday 14 December. A Silver Ferns touring captain will be named at a later date.
The Nations Cup will be played over two weekends with the first matches to be played at OVO Arena Wembley in London from January 21-22 before moving to First Direct Arena in Leeds on January 28-29.