Ameliaranne Ekenasio named as Silver Ferns captain for Vitality Nations Cup
Watch every match live on Sky Sports from January 19-26 and via our streams on the Sky Sports YouTube channel
By Emma Thurston
Last Updated: 15/01/20 8:07pm
Ameliaranne Ekenasio has been named as the Silver Ferns' captain for the Vitality Nations Cup, which starts on Sunday live on Sky Sports.
The world champions arrived in England for the four-nation tournament having left Laura Langman back in New Zealand and as a result, their main leadership role was vacant.
Head coach Dame Noeline Taurua announced Ekenasio's new position on Wednesday evening and shared that the world champions used a team-voting system to make the appointment.
The voting system included all of the players, management, Netball NZ's CEO and the Head of High Performance.
Taurua added that the factors taken into consideration were performance, relationships, communication styles, and personal characteristics.
Vitality Nations Cup 2020 - All live on Sky Sports & streamed on YouTube
|January 19||Jamaica vs South Africa||2.15pm||Sky Sports Mix & Arena|
|England vs New Zealand||4.45pm||Sky Sports Mix & Arena|
|January 22||Jamaica vs New Zealand||5.15pm||Sky Sports Mix, Main Event & Arena|
|England vs South Africa||7.45pm||Sky Sports Mix & Arena|
|January 25||New Zealand vs South Africa||2.15pm||Sky Sports Mix|
|England vs Jamaica||4.45pm||Sky Sports Mix & Main Event|
|January 26||3rd vs 4th place match||2.15pm||Sky Sports Mix & Arena|
|1st vs 2nd place match||4.45pm||Sky Sports Mix & Arena|
"I was very pleased that the process highlighted that many players in the group are leaders in different areas. This is important with both Laura (Langman) and Katrina (Rore) taking their sabbatical breaks," Taurua said in a statement at SilverFerns.co.nz.
"We all watched Ameliaranne take her game to a new level last year - showing a maturity in her game, consistency in performance and an ability to shoulder the pressures on and off court.
"On top of that she is such a lovely person who genuinely wants the best for others and ultimately for the team to be the best."
As a result of our process she has the respect of her peers and management. Respect and trust is crucial in leadership as we continue to pursue to live and breathe the values of the Silver Fern.
Noeline Taurua about Ameliaranne Ekenasio
Ekenasio made her Silver Ferns debut back in 2014 and was a key figure in their gold medal winning campaign at last year's Netball World Cup and during their productive Constellation Cup in October.
During the Vitality Nations Cup she will be adding to her 37 Test caps and her long-range shooting will be key as the New Zealand move into a era without Maria Folau lining-up alongside Ekenasio.
Jane Watson and Gina Crampton have been selected as the outfit's vice-captains.
"It was important to find that right mix in looking ahead to the future but also naming a leadership group that lead by example on and off court for the now," Taurua noted.
Our current Silver Ferns environment needs to keep growing and adapting to the personnel we have in the mix. We have strong structures in place. Changes are always good and healthy to ensure we don't become stagnant.
The Silver Ferns' new leadership group will be tested first against their hosts, England, on January 19 at the Motorpoint Arena Nottingham.
The match, which is live on Sky Sports and being streamed on YouTube, will see them look to add to the head-turning victory they delivered against the Roses at last year's World Cup.
After taking on England, the Silver Ferns will duel with the Sunshine Girls on the second match-day in Birmingham.
They will then travel to London for the final weekend, meeting South Africa on January 25 before taking part in a final play-off match which will be dependent on their earlier results.
Sky Sports is your home of netball and live action returns on air and streamed on YouTube, with the Vitality Nations Cup. The four-nation competition starts on January 19 with England taking on the world champions New Zealand.