A chance for Jamaica's netballers to shine


A chance for Jamaica's netballers to shine

Saturday, July 13, 2019

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Jamaica's Reggae Girlz had to be satisfied with scoring a goal, while going down to three defeats in their first-ever Fifa World Cup of football which ended recently with triumph for the United States.

Then there was the ICC Cricket World Cup in England, where the West Indies were widely expected to at least make a major impact. Instead, the Caribbean team ended ninth of 10 teams at the tournament which will be decided tomorrow between hosts England and the spunky New Zealand.

Now there is the Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England, with Jamaica's Sunshine Girls — ranked number two in the world — hoping to bring joy to their country by winning the world title for the very first time.

The Jamaican netballers started the tournament well yesterday, beating Fiji 85-29, in line with the form book.

Jamaica Head Coach Ms Marvette Anderson and her charges will know that it will only get harder from here if they are to create history by topping traditional power houses Australia, New Zealand and England to take home the world title.

Jamaica must now turn their attention to overcoming Trinidad and Tobago and South Africa to end stage one of the preliminaries successfully.

We are pleased that Ms Anderson placed priority on improving more even after yesterday's dominant win.

“We are going to work on what didn't go so well and continue to do what worked well. I think our turnovers were too many, and I think we can work on that aspect,” she said.

Indeed, Ms Anderson was being consistent. In the build-up to the start of the tournament she was very clear that there was no place for complacency.

“I will be taking no team lightly,” she said then. “Everybody wants to win regardless of what ranking they have, so every game for us is a step towards the podium,” she told members of the media on the eve of yesterday's game.

Given their high world ranking and the depth of talent in the team, expectations are high. Yet Jamaicans should recognise that this is an extremely difficult task for their national team.

To begin with, the top national teams in global netball boast competitive professional leagues.

By contrast, in Jamaica — as is also the case with most lesser-ranked international netball teams — the sport is amateur to semi-pro, at best.

Yet, Jamaicans are long used to punching above their weight. And in the case of the Sunshine Girls self-belief, pride and love of the sport are huge pluses.

Note the head coach's pre-tournament assertion that “The players are aware — we have a bunch of ladies who eat, sleep, live netball. They live it with passion, [and] play it with pride. They know what is at stake and they are ready, and I think they are going to make us proud.”

We wish the Sunshine Girls all that's good on the road ahead.

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