Antigua & Barbuda’s journey back to regional and international netball has begun with efforts already being made by the Caribbean Netball Association (CNA) to have the twin-island state compete at the regional level.
This is according to new President of the Antigua & Barbuda Netball Association (ABNA) and former national goal shoot, Karen Joseph, who said the country is no longer even ranked by the International Netball Federation (INF).
“For me, we are out of everything, out of the rankings and anything you can think of in netball. Antigua is out, but we are working along with the president of the CNA (Kathy Harper-Hall of Barbados). As a matter of a fact, she was pushing for us to play in the senior league, and because it was pushed back to October she is still encouraging us to do so,” she said.
“It’s a case where yes, we want to compete, but to start on those terms and not prepare and not have the proper team to represent Antigua, no, I can’t push ourselves in it for October,” she added.
Joseph, who said the association is targeting a January 2018 return date for the national league, said that one of their biggest hindrances is finances. The CNA, she added, is also assisting in that area.
“We have been exchanging emails and phone calls, and they have been trying to work with us to get our finances back on track, and we are still basically behind, but we are working through the Olympic office and the Ministry of Sports to get our finances on track, because without that, we can’t get any place,” the former player said.
Netball in Antigua remained dormant at all levels for many years until the recent introduction of the Concerned Netball Players group of which Joseph is also a member.
The group has staged a number of village tournaments at both junior and senior levels, receiving overwhelming support from both the public and business communities.