Forbes says Netball Jamaica has ‘exciting’ plans for next World Cup cycle
Netball Jamaica (NJ) wants to capitalise on gains made in recent years by implementing a four-year plan for the national senior team progress to the next World Cup, says first Vice-President Simone Forbes.
The Sunshine Girls, led by Connie Francis, ended a 16-year medal drought at the World Netball Championship last summer, winning bronze. Prior to that, Jamaica captured a historic silver medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
After Francis and Netball Jamaica parted ways in September of last year, the association needed to restructure its programme, which including picking a core group of players to form the backbone of the Sunshine Girls squad preparing for the four-year cycle that will culminate in the 2027 World Cup.
Forbes stated that out of the over 40 players who participated in the two-day trial on January 12, and January 13, at the Leila Robinson Netball Court, 14 were chosen to join the Sunshine Girls training squad of 23, which included nine overseas-based women. She also revealed that 11 more players were chosen for the “A” team.
“I think we would have seen all the players who were selected as part of the programme before. One player was a part of the programme a couple of years ago, and so she’s back. So it’s the same players. It should be interesting, I must say, with nine players overseas, eight playing in Australia, and one in England, so it’s a different kind of mix to the plot,” Forbes told the Jamaica Observer.
“It should add a different dynamic to the group with a new coach. So we just have to wait and see what the first year looks like. But I am very positive and hopeful. It’s exciting, and we’re looking forward to that.
“So, it’s a four-year cycle that we’re planning for, and so this is the first part of that. The cycle ends at the World Cup in 2027. So everything we do from now on is planning and preparing for that. So we should have a number of local series as well as international overseas matches that will be announced soon,” the first vice-president said.
The programme also included hiring a new head coach to lead, design, and deliver a successful and comprehensive programme to ensure the Sunshine Girls maintained or improved their world ranking.
The process of selecting the head coach is currently underway, with two local coaches shortlisted from the six applications received for the top job. The names of the selected coaches were not revealed but according to Forbes, the new head coach will be known next Friday before the national coaches’ retreat is held.
“We have a coaches’ retreat. We’ve never had one before. We decided that before we officially start the cycle, we will be having a national coaches’ retreat where all the national coaches from all the different teams will come together for two days to do what they do at retreats.
“So we’re looking forward to that as well. There’s some new stuff that are coming on, that are happening. So we’re hoping that at the end of the day, it bears fruit to our goal which is, of course, to be the number one team in the world and at the World Cup as well as ranking.
“So the process for the appointing the head coach has started. This week and next week will be the assessment period. Interview, coaching and it’s two parts. We have to coach as well as there’s an interview as well. And then we should know by next week Friday, who the head coach will be because it’s next week Saturday and Sunday is the retreat,” Forbes ended.