The Cook Islands Under 21 netball team leave for the Youth World Cup in Botswana today, where they are eying a top ten finish.
The Junior Black Pearls finished sixth at the 2009 Youth Champs but missed the last event in Glasgow four years ago.
Head coach John Glassie said finances have been the biggest challenge to their preparations, with the playing squad spread across the Cook Islands, New Zealand and Australia.
"It's quite rare for us to be able to get together regularly so when we do we certainly value that time and we put a lot of training in during that time that we are together for the couple of days," he said.
"We were together about a month ago - before that it was a couple of months so we've only been together a couple of times since (finishing second, behind Fiji, at the) Oceania (Championships, which ended in October)."
Five members of the Under 21 squad were recently named in the Cook Islands senior squad to compete at the Nations Cup in Singapore in December and John Glassie was confident his squad will prove competitive on the global stage.
"For us, to get an opportuntity to compete is fantastic - especially for the Pacific nations because we do have the cost and that sort of thing is quite high because we have to travel every time we want to play any international game," he said.
"We are hoping to finish in the top ten at this tournament - that's our goal - so if we can get top two (in the pool) we've achieved that goal and anything higher is a bonus."
"When we arrive in Botswana we will have a couple of days preparation where we will work on some tactics and that sort of thing," Glassie explained.
"We've also lined up a game with Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and New Zealand so we'll have those games prior to the tournament and that will give a wide range of different skills that other teams have to play against and try and adjust our game play."
The Cook Islands will play in Pool C alongside Jamaica, Malaysia, Uganda and hosts Botswana.
Fiji and Samoa are also competing at the World Youth Champs, which start next weekend.