Netball

Sunshine Girls need better coaches

Monday, May 29, 2017

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Dear Editor,The recent series between Barbados and Jamaica's Sunshine Girls was disappointing. Here I was thinking that, even with a C team, Jamaica, being head and shoulders above our regional counterparts, would be able to pull off a series win. I was wrong.

I don't wish to attack our beloved Sunshine Girls, but rather to look into a deep-seated problem, that of Netball Jamaica's selection of coaches.

The Sunshine Girls have had to adjust and readjust to several coaches over the years, a few of which have been of foreign extract. It seems to me that Netball Jamaica is obsessed with foreign coaches, especially the white ones. First it was Australian Jill McIntosh, now it is the British Jermaine Allison-McCracken. The question I should ask Netball Jamaica is: Do you think these foreign coaches would be loyal to us that they would coach our girls to beat their native countries? Do they have our best interest at heart? I hasten to add that not because they are from nations far and yon it means they are good.

The deck seemed stacked against our local coaches who from time to time have graced the covers of the national programme but never steal the show. Connie Francis, Minneth Reynolds and several others have done their stints but always seem to end up on the wrong end of the stick.

The programme is not just prejudiced against local coaches but men as well. I recall the words of former President Marva Bernard that until she sees a woman coaching football, no man will coach the Sunshine Girls. Those words have hovered over the programme and managed to keep any man that would be interested in the top job at bay. We have many talented local coaches who have proven their worth and could have contributed greatly to the programme, but, alas, they are men and that has snuffed out any influence they might have had. Argument done!

The time has come for us to value our local expertise outside of nationality and sex. If Netball Jamaica continues to operate along these lines we may lose many of our top netballers, thus the girls may never attain the heights of success to which they are destined. Our girls need coaches who respect and value them, and an administration that secures exemplary coaches and creates an enabling environment in which both coach and team can excel. They sacrifice a lot to represent us and are worth much more than to give countries like Barbados a free pass in tournaments.

Nardia Grant

nardiaj@gmail.com

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