Sport | Black Sox

Black Sox look to future with new-look squad under new coach

After a selection training camp at the weekend, Thomas Makea has selected his first team as head coach of the New Zealand Black Sox.

“This team marks the first step in rebuilding the New Zealand Black Sox foundation, strengthening our future team’s depth, and igniting a renewed sense of pride in our softball legacy,” says Makea.

The Black Sox will compete at the WBSC Oceania regional qualifier in Pago Pago, American Samoa, on November 9-11 where they will play a series of matches against world champion Australia, and host American Samoa.

Makea (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Marama, Ngāti Makea ki Rarotonga) has taken over the top job with the Black Sox from Mark Sorenson who stepped down following last year’s world championships in Auckland. The seven-time world champions failed to reach the championship rounds of the tournament and finished eighth overall.

The 47-year-old is the first Māori coach of the Black Sox. He had a nearly 20-year playing career with the national side was in four world championship eams.

Makea is excited about the challenge ahead and has named a squad that is balanced with experience and prospects for the future.

“I am proud of the strides the squad made over the weekend, and it gives me reassurance that we are all aligned and heading in the right direction.

“We have a nice balance of youth and experience amongst the team. Liam Potts and Te Kirika Cooper-Nicola make the step up from the U23 program and Adam Woon, Jayden Stratford, Callum Bishop, and Zac Boyd will all make their international debuts.”

The squad also features six members of the 2022 world championship campaign, Pita Rona, Te Wera Bishop, Cole Evans, Reilly Makea (Thomas’ son), Tane Mumu and Cameron Watts.

The three-day qualifier in American Samoa will see the Black Sox contest six test matches as they start their campaign for 2025 World Cup qualification.

Public Interest Journalism