Shaleen wowed by superstars of netball

ANZ Future Captains Shaleen Kumar (front, left) and Piya Patel with Stars Maia Wilson and Steel’s Shannon Saunders in action during the ANZ Premiership netball.

Point View School student Shaleen Kumar got a taste of the centre court when she met the superstars of netball at Pulman Arena before the Stars vs Steel ANZ Premiership game.

Shaleen, an avid soccer player, was thrilled to give netball a try when she won the chance to meet captains Maia Wilson (Stars) and Shannon Saunders (Steel) and lead the teams onto the court as a part of the ANZ Future Captains programme. Best friend Piya Patel accompanied her.

Shaleen enjoyed her first ever live netball game saying, “it’s like soccer but they were using their hands to throw the ball, whereas in soccer we use our legs.”

When it came to standing beside the towering captains in front of a packed crowd, eight-year-old Shaleen took it in her stride. “I felt normal in front of the big crowd because I’ve been on stage for a long time for my Bollywood dancing. I’m used to performing in front of a lot of people.”

Watching the Stars and Steel go head to head might have just tempted soccer-mad Shaleen to try her hand at netball. “I got some tips from the players and maybe, I’d like to play one day. I saw that they were helping each other out – teamwork is the best.”

ANZ Head of Sponsorship Sue McGregor says ANZ is committed to supporting netballers in Aotearoa, from local Botany players right up to the elite athletes in the ANZ Premiership and the Silver Ferns.

“That’s why we’re giving 94 young people from all over Aotearoa the chance to be part of the ANZ Premiership and to meet their netball heroes as an ANZ Future Captain. After such a tough year for the netball community in 2020, it’s great we can offer this once in a lifetime opportunity to our country’s youngest netball fans and players. We hope this experience inspires them to remain passionate about their training and to try their very best on the court.”

Applications for the ANZ Future Captains programme are now open at