Tall Ferns player chooses gym job over game

By Taroi Black

Covid restrictions are adding more pressure on elite-level athletes, according to former Tall Fern,  Matangiroa Flavell.

Flavell, 24, stood down from the squad currently competing in the FIBA Asia Cup in Amman, Jordan. She chose to stay home and focus on the Hamilton gym she runs with older sister Miria Flavell, Movement NZ.

A six-week tour with the Tall Ferns and another two weeks in MIQ was just too hard.

“That’s the sad reality for us as female basketballers in New Zealand," says Matangiroa.  

Last night the NZ Tall Ferns lost 69 - 85 to Korea in the first of three matches in the qualifying rounds.  NZ was plagued by errors and poor shooting which led to Korea dominating the game with 13 three-pointers overall. However, Tall Ferns centre Penina Davidson managed to finish with 21 points and 11 rebounds.

“I spoke with some members of our team after the game and they know what they need to work on," says Matangiroa.

“They’re mostly rangatahi but this is an opportunity for them.”

The squad's second match is against Japan.