Netball association league set for 2018 return

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The Antigua & Barbuda Netball Association’s (ABNA) national programme could return early 2018 following years of dormancy.
Newly elected head of the organisation and former national player, Karen Joseph, said the national league is just one of the things on her executive’s agenda leading into 2018.
“We are in the process of bringing back the association league some time in January. We were also due to go to St Lucia this week for an AGM and umpires’ seminar but they had a postponement until October so we are getting there,” she said.
“From what we had for the village league in May or June, we had 20 plus teams so I am assuming that we will surpass that for January because we have targeted most of the teams from the previous association league and we also have some new teams that are coming in.”
However, the league, which will feature juniors, seniors, intermediates and mixed divisions, could see changes to its scheduling due to the country’s main netball facility in need of repairs, according to Joseph.
“Usually in the past, the association league was held at the YMCA but until we get YMCA back to where it used to be in terms of the light fixtures and the place is in good condition, we cannot say, for now, what’s going to happen. If we have one court in YMCA that can be used, we cannot play all the matches there. We have to go back into the communities,” she said.
The sport 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.
Joseph is hoping that Antigua & Barbuda can get back into competing, not just on a national scale but at regional and international levels as well.
“We may enter and maybe get a lot of beatings but we have to start at a competitive level. First and foremost, we have to get some training programmes in place and camps in terms of the rules and regulations. The rules have changed over the past years and we are really behind where that is concerned and that is why we are focusing on going to the umpires training course in St Lucia so we can come back and have training camps for the umpires so we can get up to date,” the former player said.
Netball courts in Old Road, Parham and Liberta have been earmarked as possible venues for the national competition, while consideration is being given to inviting a regional team for the opening of the league in January.

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