Sport

Aussie coach McIntosh to boost Sunshine Girls

BY SANJAY MYERS Observer staff reporter myerss@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, December 11, 2013    

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JAMAICA'S Sunshine Girls continue to shock the world of netball despite having limited resources at their disposal.

But there is still that elusive hurdle to cross for Netball Jamaica; finding a way to break up the New Zealand-Australia dominance.

Netball boss Marva Bernard has long been calling for more funding and greater resources to provide the necessary infrastructure for growth.

Bernard conceded that technical development is an area that requires dire attention.

She said Australian Jill McIntosh, who has previously served in a coaching director's role, will return to beef up the programme ahead of the Commonwealth Games in the summer.

"She (McIntosh) is coming to work very closely with (head coach) Oberon (Pitterson-Nattie)and (her assistant) Minneth (Reynolds). It's a continuation of the programme because when she was here the last time she worked with national coaches and other coaches. This time she will be going with them to the Commonwealth Games and also getting them ready before," she told a recent Sports Club forum at the Jamaica Observer.

Bernard explained that McIntosh will be on a five-month stint beginning in April 2014.

The local governing body was buoyed by a bronze medal finish at the World Fast5 Championship held last month in New Zealand.

That placing maintained the country's trend of being there or thereabouts at major youth and senior tournaments.

However, many years of similar success have gone by, and worryingly, they remain unable to finance the hiring of a full-time head coach.

The netball president believes Pitterson-Nattie and her coaching staff have done well in their part-time roles, but added that the next step has to be taken.

"Our part-time coaches do their best and get us to the podium or at least fourth place. But we really need a full-time coach," Bernard said.

Pitterson-Nattie, who was also a guest at the forum, said she has thought about the opportunity to engage her squad on a full-time basis, but would do so only under the "right conditions".

"Yes, I have considered and because of how we are structured I don't know how it could go. If I'm full-time,and the players aren't full-time what am I going to do?" she asked.

"Then there's a lot of work I should be doing (as head coach) and I'm not able to do because I'm at work (in my full-time job). With the right structure, yes, it's something that I would do because I know that the programme needs a full-time coach, but right now I am not able. Perhaps I would in the future, given the right condition and everything," she said.

"I want to ensure that if I do that it's good for the association and good for me," Pitterson-Nattie added.

The senior netball team continues preparation for the Commonwealth Games with a tri-nation series in England in January. There they will face the hosts and New Zealand.

The Young Sunshine Girls also have engagements ahead of them. They are expected to compete in the Jean Pierre Under-16 tournament in St Lucia in April.

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