The PacificAus Netball Series will feature African teams for the first time ©Getty Images

Kenya, Malawi and Zambia are set to make their debuts at the PacificAus Sports Netball Series as part of the eight teams competing at the Gold Coast.

They will be up against Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Singapore and dual-series champions Tonga, as the programme aims to match-up Pacific nations against countries from other regions as they prepare for the Netball World Cup in Cape Town and Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago later this year.

The series will be taking place in Australia for the third time after editions in March and October 2022, with the previous two won by Tonga.

Glenn Turnor, Netball Australia's executive general manager of strategy, Government and community, expressed his excitement at the event's return.

"The PacificAus Sports Netball Series has solidified its place in the Netball Australia calendar, and we are thrilled to see it continue to grow in 2023," Turnor said.

"With the largest number of teams competing yet, we expect competition on the Gold Coast to be elevated, showcasing the development of our international contenders and the strength of our relationship with Pacific neighbours."

Rosemarie Lome, Netball Samoa's chief executive, spoke about the importance of this event for exposure.

The Netball World Cup is due to take place later this year in Cape Town, South Africa ©Getty Images
The Netball World Cup is due to take place later this year in Cape Town, South Africa ©Getty Images

"The PacificAus Netball Series is a product that brings together small island netball nations to the international stage to learn, share and showcase that we are a strong, competitive spectator sport," said Lome.

"Participation in the series is a valuable part of our rebuild strategy. 

"Our results at the Oceania Qualifiers were disappointing, however, it has allowed us to step back, reflect and strategise on how to rebuild and come back stronger to achieve our goals of gold at the 2023 Pacific Games, qualifying for the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games, and qualifying in the 2027 Netball World Cup.

"The series is also an opportunity to showcase to our World Netball community the quality and competitiveness of netball within our Oceania Netball region which we hope would attract invitations to participate in their tournaments and series."

The tournament is due to take place from April 24 to 29 at the Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre, with the teams being split into two pools and a two-day elimination tournament occurring.