England invited to 2014 Korfball Challenge
England Korfball will be attending the prestigious 2014 Korfball Challenge. The KNKV have invited England Korfball to participate in the main event as well as its U16 counterpart tournament.
The challenge has been a firm fixture on the korfball calendar for many years and is a show piece high level event which pitched Dutch club sides against the KNKV Tulips. This team being the “best of the rest” in the Netherlands.
In past years the KNKV have invited international sides including England and Chinese Taipei to participate in the tournament.
This year the aim of the tournament has been changed by Technical Director Kees Rodenburg to an event aimed at older youth players and they have invited England to supply a “talent team”.
England will be using this tournament as an opportunity to test and view English Korfball talent at an U23 level to fit into the senior team for the World Championships in 2015. England Korfball’s International Sub Committee (ISC) have asked Senior Coach Dave Buckland to coach the side.
The reasons for this are sound. England does not run an ongoing U21/U23 program and the senior team needs to increase the player pool for the World Championships as its primary focus.
International Korfball in England is becoming more geographically spread but is still focussed in terms of volunteers and training activities in the South East. There is also no talent pathway defined for players to be aware how they progress from club players to regional players to international players.
The U21/U23 age group is very well represented in England with an explosion of university players enjoying korfball at recreational and competitive level around the whole country. This explosion has fuelled growth outside the South East and England Korfball need to define plans to connect with this talent through their local associations.
Progression of this talent at any age group needs to be pushed out to be regionally managed. It is a clear aim of the England Korfball ISC to do this and the U23 challenge serves as a perfect reminder as to the importance of doing so. It also serves as a reminder to regional korfball associations that they should be demanding localised talent development to feed into representative teams, local national league clubs and finally the national team.
We have a wealth of U21/U23 talent in the country and an seemingly endless refreshment of new players at that age group driven by Higher Education/Further Education institutes. The korfball community has a great opportunity to utilise that talent to increase the number of players at the top of the England Korfball playing pyramid.
This will provide a better national team, better national league, better regional teams and a greater aspiration for all young players starting the sport to stay in the sport and improve its standard and participant numbers across the board.
Any player at the U23 level or anyone wishing to nominate a player in their region / club should contact us to find out more information.
The Challenge runs from 27 to 30 December 2014 and is held in the Top Sport Centrum Rotterdam