Elite Men's Netball League set for November start
A match between Jamaica's senior men's netball team, the Suns, and their women's counterparts, the Sunshine Girls, at the National Indoor Sports Complex in Kingston in October 2021.

After more than a three-year absence due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Elite Men's Netball League is scheduled to return to the local calendar in November.

The competition, which will be staged for the second time, has not been played since 2019.

Shawn Murdock, coach of the national men's team, the Jamaica Suns, and chief organiser of the competition, told the Jamaica Observer that the league forms a critical part of the development of men in Jamaica and they are looking forward to a good competition.

"This competition will consist of the best players that play in the local leagues, so I am very excited about it," Murdock said. "It is going to be very competitive and you don't know who will win because of the mixture of talent that will be on display throughout the tournament.

"The players are looking forward to it and they are excited about it because the last competition that we had for men would have been four months ago, so everyone is ready and raring to go."

Murdock says that the two-month tournament will consist of four teams and it will be played at the Leila Robinson Courts in Kingston.

Murdock says that this year's competition is being sponsored by former men's players and friends of men's netball. But organisers need $2 million in sponsorship to offset some of the costs associated with the competition.

"Fortunately for us, the sponsors for this competition would have been former players who would have migrated, so they are really the main backers of this league and we want to thank them for that," he said.

"Of course, we would love for some sponsorship from corporate Jamaica, so anyone who is interested can contact the men's netball association and they can send us a direct message through Instagram."

Murdock says that the national team is now on a high after the Jamaica Suns won the Americas Netball Championships in St Vincent and the Grenadines earlier this month.

"I am feeling very good about this competition because the last time around I was a coach in this league, but because of my tenure as the national coach, I am just going to sit in the stands and look at the different players on court battling," he said.

"Men's netball is also on the rise in Jamaica because we recently won the Americas tournament in St Vincent and the Grenadines and that is excellent for us."

Former Jamaican international umpire and coach, Sylvester Campbell, says he fully endorses this competition and is also calling on corporate Jamaica to get on board and support the tournament.

"I am a big supporter of men playing netball because this is happening everywhere in the world and if we don't start now then we are going to be left behind," he said.

"I think they need all the support that they can get because that is where the world is going, women playing football, women playing cricket, and if the men are playing netball, then we should support them."

BY ROBERT BAILEY Observer staff reporter

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