My apology!

Netball Jamaica boss calls for continued support, but pledges accountability for disastrous World Cup campaign

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

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LIVERPOOL, England — In the space of two disastrous days for Jamaica at the 2019 Netball World Cup, the number two-ranked Sunshine Girls are on the outside looking in.

The swift implosion, which involved defeats to world number five South Africa on Sunday, and third-ranked England on Monday, means the highest realistic finish for the Marvette Anderson-coached Jamaicans is fifth.

Jamaica's last World Cup medal was the bronze captured in 2007, but they have not missed the semi-finals since 1995.

No doubt, heads are likely to roll after the dust has settled and a tournament review is completed.

“When we get back and we do the debriefing and the analysis we have to look at everything, in particular, coaching [and] player selection,” Netball Jamaica President Dr Paula Daley-Morris told the Jamaica Observer shortly after watching the team practise yesterday.

“All the elements of practice that we used to get here will have to be examined, and serious changes will have to be made where they are needed. That's the normal thing we have to do when we're coming off a World Cup. And we're going to make sure we're accountable to this country.”

Jamaica entered the tournament with high hopes, winning the 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medal behind champions England and hosts Australia.

They brushed aside an under-strength England team 3-0 in a home series last October, and only recently climbed a spot in the International Netball Federation rankings.

The Sunshine Girls did not need to be at their best to beat Fiji 85-29 and Trinidad and Tobago 68-43 in their opening two World Cup matches.

However, flaws were soon exposed.

South Africa strangled their passing game and forced turnover after turnover in a 55-52 win that rounded out both teams' campaign in the first stage of preliminary matches.

A day later in the start to the second preliminaries, England roughly followed that template in a 56-48 defeat of the Sunshine Girls.

While pointing out that the current format, which includes two preliminary stages before the semi-finalists are determined, leaves smaller room for error, Daley-Morris insisted the team is eager to end the tournament on a positive note.

“The World Cup, as I always said, is an unpredictable scenario. If you blink for a second you know what happens, and we blinked and so we have to live with the consequences of blinking. We'll regroup and come again.

“We have spoken about it, we've looked at errors, we have looked at successes and they have a plan going forward. The least we can do now is to recover from this,” Jamaica's netball boss, who is to demit office in November, told the Observer.

“This is not what we had planned, this is not what we expected, but this is what it is. We have to face it [and] make best use of the position we are in. We are a proud nation [and] we are here to represent our country. We are all sad for the results, but it is not all lost.

“I sincerely apologise for this — what I call a mishap. It is not what the girls expected or the coaches expected, so we owe the country an apology for disappointing so many people. We're saying to you, don't give up on us because we are still a good brand,” Daley-Morris urged.

—Sanjay Myers


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