Sports

Victory charge

Sunshine Girls bow into action against minnows Fiji

Friday, July 12, 2019

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LIVERPOOL, England — As a collective Jamaica's Sunshine Girls have stressed the importance of taking nothing for granted if they are to be successful at the 2019 Netball World Cup.

In the build-up over the past few days, the common message from the coaching staff and the players has been to avoid complacency at all costs.

Their first test to turn words into action comes today when they oppose lower-ranked, Group C team Fiji inside M&S Bank Arena at the ACC Liverpool.

The game is scheduled to start 5:00 pm (11:00 am Jamaica time).

The Sunshine Girls, who recently climbed one spot to second in the world rankings, enter the game as favourites, but Head Coach Marvette Anderson is taking nothing for granted.

“I will be taking no team lightly. 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.

The Sunshine Girls spent over a week at a preparation camp in Manchester before arriving in Liverpool days ago. And yesterday they were at Exhibition Centre Liverpool applying the final touches.

The Jamaica head coach, on the cusp of her first stint at the World Cup, is hopeful their plans will be executed on the court.

“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,” she said, stressing the importance of starting on the right foot.

“I think that the ladies are ready and I think we're coming out there to put what we've been practicing since we [were] in Manchester, so let's see what happens on the court,” Anderson added.

Jamaica won the bronze medal in 2003 and 2007, but have never been to the gold medal match at the World Cup. They claimed the fourth spot in 2011 and 2015.

However, they have made strides in recent years.

At the Commonwealth Games in April last year, the Sunshine Girls won bronze, and months later they swept to a 3-0 home series win against an under-strength England side.

Fiji might be underdogs but they have decorated Australian former player Vicki Wilson at the coaching helm.

Wilson, a Commonwealth Games and World Cup gold medal winner as a player, predicted that the Jamaicans will prove a major obstacle for her Fiji team, but she is not ruling out a surprise.

“The great thing about sport is it's unpredictable, but they [Jamaica] have strength and enormous size all over the court. We've got the youngest team ever out of Fiji, and also a very inexperienced team,” she said.

“It's going to be very tough. They are ranked number two in the world, so it will be an enormous challenge for us. We are currently ranked 17th, so we know we'll have our work cut out for us,” added Wilson, who was once part of the New Zealand coaching set-up.

After today, Jamaica will turn attention to encounters against Trinidad and Tobago and South Africa tomorrow and on Sunday, respectively, ending stage one of the preliminaries.

(Jamaica from): Jhaniele Fowler (captain), Vangelee Williams (vice-captain), Shanice Beckford, Adean Thomas, Jodi-Ann Ward, Rebekah Robinson, Shamera Sterling, Stacian Facey, Kadie-Ann Dehaney, Nicole Dixon, Khadijah Williams, Romelda Aiken.

Today's schedule

First session

New Zealand vs Malawi

Barbados vs Singapore

Australia vs Northern Ireland

Zimbabwe vs Sri Lanka

Second session

Jamaica vs Fiji

South Africa vs Trinidad and Tobago

England vs Uganda

Scotland vs Samoa


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