Bernard vows to deliver rousing Americas Netball World Cup Qualifier expectations for this event is that it is going to be thrilling (Photo: Observer file)

WITH just over two weeks before the start of the Americas Netball World Cup Qualifier, president of the regional body, Jamaican Marva Bernard, says her organisation is preparing to deliver a show-stopping event.

The nine-team championships will enable two teams from the region to qualify for next year's Netball World Cup which will be held in Cape Town, South Africa, July 28-August 6.

The first match on the fixture will get underway at 6:00 pm at the National Indoor Sport Centre on October 16. The seven-day qualifying tournament will end on October 22 and will feature 36 matches played in a league format.

"My expectations for this event is that it is going to be thrilling," said Bernard. "My expectations are that teams are going to fiercely contest for a position at the end of the week and join Netball Jamaica at the World Cup because there are two spots up for grabs and I believe that it can be any two," she opined.

The competitng nations are Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, the Cayman Islands, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, United States, along with Jamaica who have already qualified for next year's World Cup by virtue of their number three world ranking.

Bernard, who is a former president of Netball Jamaica, pointed out that a lot of teams have made significant improvements over the years, therefore any number can play in the race for the high-value qualifying spots.

"Those who have never been to the World Cup are gunning for those who have been, and those who have been there are fighting hard to maintain the history of them being at the last two World Cups," Bernard said.

"Nobody has seen Grenada play for a while, nobody has seen the USA play for a while, and I don't know what team Jamaica is putting out there. But whatever team Jamaica puts out there, they are competing like everybody else for rankings points," she noted.

Bernard says that Americas Netball will be pulling out all the stops to ensure this year's championships will be a spectacle.

"The local fans can expect high, exciting netball because a number of the Caribbean [teams] have brought in overseas coaches to help them, [and] Jamaica's Mineth Reynolds is helping St Lucia," she stated.

"Grenada has a coach from Trinidad and Tobago and Antigua has brought in a coach from the UK [United Kingdom] who is helping them and so all the teams are preparing hard for this championships.

"These matches are going to be keenly contested because everybody wants to go to the World Cup. The OECS [Organisation of Eastrn Caribbean States] tournament that they had earlier showed how closely contested that this competition is going to be," Bernard declared.

— Robert Bailey

Robert Bailey

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