The best Sunshine Girls team ever — Forbes
Jamaica's Jodi -Ann Ward (left) battles New Zealand's Whitney Souness in the netball semi-final match during the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England on Saturday. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

BIRMINGHAM, England — Former Sunshine Girls Captain Simone Forbes hailed the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games group as the best team ever assembled to represent the country and believes they have all the tools necessary to win gold in tonight's championship game against Australia at the NEC Arena.

Forbes, one of Jamaica's most gifted goal attacks, was a key player in the country's bronze medal-winning teams at the 2003 and 2007 World Netball World Cups and also helped the island to the bronze medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England.

Now an administrator, Forbes could not contain her excitement following the Jamaicans' emphatic 67-51 win over world number-two New Zealand in yesterday's semi-final at the NEC Arena, a result that puts the Sunshine Girls in their first final at this level.

"I don't know what to say, I mean, it's just amazing to sit there and watch them from the beginning to the end. I am so proud. You know, yes, we've been close to making the final before, we've been very close, but nothing happens before time and this is the best Jamaican team I've ever seen," Forbes told the Jamaica Observer.

"I've seen it coming since 2019 and I'm so happy that it has finally come together for them in terms of making the final and so I'm really hoping that they stay focused and I think they will, because this is big for them and the final is really where they want to be so I hope that you know, we stay focused and we can take it over the line," Forbes said.

Forbes highlighted the team's depth and experience as a key difference with teams of the past and is convinced that the current Sunshine Girls cohort is well equipped to end its 2022 Commonwealth Games campaign with a podium-topping performance.

"I think this squad is the most balanced I've seen. We have always had very good players, but we weren't always 12 very excellent players that you can put on at any time. So the difference with this squad is you can take off anyone and put on somebody else and the level really doesn't drop much and so they have that going for them as well as we have some the best players in the world who play in the best league in the world," Forbes assessed.

"Also of course the coaching staff is doing an excellent job. You could see the work that they've put in with the team in terms of the discipline – let me tell you, I think that was for me the big difference with the team and how they perform in terms of how they stuck to whatever the task was and when persons veered off you could see the others getting them back on the plan," Forbes added.

Jamaica won bronze at the Commonwealth Games in 2018, 2014 and 2002.

Tonight's final will begin at 8:30 pm (2:30 pm Jamaica time).

— Andre Lowe

FORBES...we've been very close, but nothing happens before time and this is the best Jamaican team I've ever seen.
Andre Lowe

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