Skipper Fowler says team feels no pressure going into England
Jamaica's JhanieleFowler (left) collects theball ahead of Trinidadand Tobago's ShaquandaGreene-Noel duringgame two of their threematchSunshine Seriesat the National IndoorSports Centre recently.(Photo: Observer file)

Sunshine Girls Captain Jhaniele Fowler says her team feels very little pressure heading into the Vitality Roses Reunited Series against England, which represents their first overseas assignment in over a year.

Fowler, a prolific goalshooter, who will be integral to the Sunshine Girls chances, is quietly confident that her team can topple their opponents in the three-match series, to gather momentum in their preparation for next year's Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

The skipper shared her thoughts ahead of today's departure for the series which begins on November 28 at the Copper Box Arena in London.

Motorbox Arena in Nottingham will play host to the next two games scheduled for December 4 and December 5.

“It is no secret that we haven't had alot of game time together, but there is no pressure heading into this series because we know what we are capable of and we are preparing for the bigger tournaments like Commonwealth Games next year and the World Cup in 2023.

“So this series is just going to help up us to further gauge ourselves but even so we still want to win because that would provide us with an even greater platform on which to build,” Fowler told the Jamaica Observer.

Despite not doing much since their three-nil sweep of number 10-ranked Trinidad and Tobago recently, Fowler expressed pleasure with their build up to the series and believes their week-early arrival will add impetus to their preparation as they fine-tune and get acclimatised to the English conditions.

“We have only had about two weeks solid training since the last series ended, but we have covered alot of ground, we have worked on areas in which we were lacking and some of these were evident during the series against Trinidad. So we have indeed ironed out a few kinks and we hope that will show in the series against England,” Fowler said.

“In terms of ball movement and fitness, we can do with some improvement in those areas, but it is where we would want it to be in order to be competitive and as we head into England for a few more sessions I believe it will get better,” she added.

Fowler, 32, rated as one of the world's best shooters is adamant about literally leading her number four-ranked team from the front as they seek to lower the colours of their number three-ranked hosts in what is expected to be three intense encounters.

“We are very confident going up against England, we know that they are going to be a tough team but we have the skills and experience to do well. And like I said earlier, it will be a really good test for us to see where we are as well heading into the bigger tournaments.

“So for me as captain, the aim is just to go out there and lead from the front and just to do my best, stand tall and make sure that I am dominant in the circle and also to ensure that I am there for the other ladies on and off the court,” the towering shooter, standing over six feet tall, noted.

Though a few key players in Nicole Dixon, Shannika Johnson and Rebekah Robinson will be absent due to personal reasons and Romola Aiken to injury, the Connie Francis-coached team still boasts a wealth of talent and experience.

Along with Fowler, Shanice Beckford, Gezelle Allison, Adean Thomas, Khadijah Williams, Shadian Hemmings, Shamera Sterling, Malysha Kelly, Kadie-Ann Dehaney, Latanya Wilson, Jodi-Ann Ward, and newbie Amanda Pinkney form the formidable 12.

Four members of the development squad, Kelsey Jonas, Kimone Shaw, Mikeala Walker and Tafiya Hunter, are also included in the touring team to be utilised as training partners.

“We definitely can win this series; it is ours to take actually because once we go out there and perform as well as we know we can and execute the coaches instructions to the best of our ability then we can definitely win. We have played and dominated this England set up before, that doesn't mean this will be easy, but again once we go out there with the confidence and drive to win then we can definitely do it,” Fowler ended.

Meanwhile, the electrifying Sterling, who will serve as vice-captain for this assignment, is raring to go.

“The level of competition will be full on, as England has been our biggest rivalry and the fact that they are also preparing for what's a head, tells you just how competitive the series will be,” the versatile defender stated.

“My goal for this series is to show the world that I can play GD and GK effectively, especially the GD position. I also want to lead well as this is my first tour as the vice captain. So I'm looking forward to bringing my best for the series and I know my teammates are also eager to get going,” Sterling noted.

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