By Neto Baptiste
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Netball Association (ABNA), Karen Joseph, believes that the time is ripe for the inclusion of outside influence where coaching at the senior national level is concerned.
The statement comes on the heels of the team’s third-place finish in the OECS/ECCB International Netball Series held recently in Dominica during which Joseph took on the role of head coach.
“It’s all good to say we need an outside coach; we know we don’t have the finances but we have to get it somewhere, somehow, because we cannot prepare to go to Jamaica unless we have an outside coach and I am telling you the honest truth but we know that, the girls know that,” she said.
“We have two persons in mind and we’re working with them. There was an English coach here last year who was supposed to be here for six days and she spent a month with the girls at YMCA. The girls are in-tune with her, they like her ideas and so we are thinking about targeting her. We also have another person in mind that we are looking at but we need somebody now more than ever,” she added.
Joseph, a former national and international ranked number two goal shoot, said the body is however searching for someone who would be able to rebuild the game from the ground up.
“For now, the girls need a break; they need to rest themselves and then from there we are going into gym training because we need to get the strength and agility together in order for us to compete in Jamaica in October,” she said.
“It was really tiring and because we had to play in a situation where we had to play in rain, it was like a mental thing but I am so proud of these girls because we had play back-to-back matches with Barbados in the morning and St Vincent in the afternoon. We stayed at the stadium for five hours before we played because of the rain, so mentally and physically they were tired but they knew they had to go and give of their best,” the netball boss added.
Antigua and Barbuda won two and lost three of their five matches in the tournament. Their loss to Barbados was however not considered in the final standings given that Barbados was not officially part of the tournament.
Joseph said the tournament presented many challenges.
“Whoever comes to Antigua must have training sessions with the coaches in the schools as well as coaches in the association and there is where it is going to start from. So, even though they are going to train the national teams, we need to have a process where all the coaches would be onboard because the person is not going to stay here, but we need to have them help us as well to develop our programme in Antigua,” she said.
Goal-shoot Rayana Regis was named Antigua and Barbuda’s most valuable player (MVP) for the tournament.
St Vincent and the Grenadines emerged champions of the tournament while St Lucia finished in the silver medal position.