Smooth sailing as Sunshine Girls settle in South Africa
Having settled in their hotel in Cape Town after arriving in South Africa on Monday, Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls will stage their first training session this afternoon under the watchful eyes of Head Coach Connie Francis and her assistant Shawn Murdock ahead of the start of Netball World Cup (NWC) tournament on July 28.
The Sunshine Girls were joined on arrival in Cape Town by their Australian-based players, captain Jhaniele Fowler, Romelda Aiken-George, Shamera Sterling, Latanya Wilson and Shimona Nelson, who arrived in Cape Town a day earlier from Australia.
Murdock told the Jamaica Observer from the team’s base in Cape Town on Tuesday that, despite their more than 24 hours of travel to the African continent, the Jamaicans are in high spirits and looking forward to getting out on court today.
“Things have been going great so far because we got today (Tuesday) off as a rest day, and so the players get a chance to recuperate and get some massages done and some treatment from the team doctor and they also did some recovery stuff from that long flight from Jamaica,” said Murdock.
“They are looking forward to it [training], and of course the coaches as well because we have been training separately for a while and so it is good that get back the entire team together, the entire coaching staff together so we can start to chart our way towards that gold medal with the full complement of the team,” he said.
The Sunshine Girls enter the championships oozing confidence after their historic silver medal-winning performance at the Commonwealth Games last August in Birmingham, England. However, the Jamaicans finished a disappointing fifth at the last NWC, which was held in Liverpool, England, in 2019.
They are scheduled to play two practice games against Tonga and Fiji next week before they bow into action on July 28 in their opening match against Sri Lanka in Pool C. The Jamaicans will also tackle Wales and South Africa in the preliminary round of the competition.
Murdock shared that these two practice games are good warm-up matches for the Sunshine Girls heading in the championships because Tonga and Fiji are two good teams with different styles of play.
“These two practice games are good competition for us heading into our opening games because Tonga is now ranked number seven in the world and they have some really quality players, some of who play in the Suncorp League in Australia, and they also play a similar style of netball like Australia, and so that is going to be good competition for us,” said Murdock.