THE holiday is over for the Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MPPJ) netball squad.
After a two-week break for the Hari Raya and Deepavali festivals, the squad resumed training on Monday to prepare for their title defence of the MPPJ Open netball championship starting at the PJ Civic Centre on Dec 4.
MPPJ netball coach Norazizah Mukijan said the squad would be training every day to get the players in shape, physically and mentally.
Norazizah noted that the players had put on extra weight and needed to work harder during training.
The players have agreed to attend training every day. This year's championship has drawn the top teams in the country. To match them, we have to be at our best, said Norazizah.
MPPJ have recruited international Rosnani Ismail to strengthen their side. They also have former international Juliana Jamaluddin and national juniors Fatimah Hashim and Juraini Hadduya on their payroll.
Noraziah said their players came from the junior development programme initiated by MPPJ.
They have been with us since they were students. They enjoy being with us and often travel for competitions,'' said Norazizah.
This year, MPPJ were champions in the Government Service netball championship. They finished third in the Penang Open and Sabah Open championships. They were runners-up in the Five-on-Five netball championship held in Bukit Jalil.
This year's MPPJ Open netball championship, offering RM4,000 in prize money, has also attracted the participation of South Africa.
The South African Under-19 squad will also be playing a series of friendly matches with their counterparts from the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) during the period.
South Africa will be the team to watch in the championship,'' she added.
Top teams, including UMW, PKNS, Kuala Lumpur City Hall and Shah Alam City Council (MBSA), have also confirmed their participation in the two-day championship.
The organisers can accommodate a maximum 32 teams, who will be divided into four groups. The top two teams from each group will advance to the quarter-finals.
The champions will receive RM2,000, the runners-up RM1,000 and the losing semi-finalists RM500 each.
The entry fee is RM200 per team. Entry forms are available at the MPPJ office in Jalan Yong Shook Lin. For more details, contact 03-7956 3544 ext 204.