The Antigua and Barbuda Netball Associa-tion’s (ABNA) domestic league is set for a February 2018 return following years of dormancy.
This is according to recently elected president and former national player, Karen Joseph, who said the league will start on 4th February 2018, with the goal of returning to regional and international competition.
“It’s at the end of August to the first week in September so it’s about 10 days and it’s an AFNA [Americans Federation of Netball Associations] qualifying tournament in Barbados and that’s where you get rankings. Especially for Antigua, we don’t even have a pin [ranking] on the radar presently so for that tournament we are going to seek a team to take to Barbados and then we can start to get back in the ranking of netball,” she said.
The association recently attended a Caribbean Net-ball Association (CNA) meeting held in Trinidad and according to Joseph, Antigua and Barbuda left the meeting with renewed vigor given the overwhelming amount of support they received from the other regional bodies.
“We have to do what we have to do and we cannot stop there because we need to start having teams in training come January. One of the things we put to them in Trinidad is that we need coaching and umpiring seminars in Antigua because we are really outdated,” the former shooter said.
“You spoke about the fast five, that’s a competition the CNA [Caribbean Netball Association] is planning in brining into the region as of next year as well. We have to start putting teams in training as of January for especially the under-15 and under-23 and the seniors for the qualifier,” she added.
Joseph identified the dilapidated state of the country’s main netball courts as one of the major issues faced by the association.
“I spoke to the minister [EP Chet Greene] last week and Heather Samuel-Daley from the Ministry of Sports about it because it is deplorable conditions really. I know we have facilities around the island that we can use but YMCA, being the base for netball, we would like to be able to play at least some games there but as it stands now, if nothing is being done by January then we have to go back into the communities,” she said.
Over 15 teams are slated to compete in next year’s competition. Netball has been dormant for over 7 years.