By Neto Baptiste
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Netball Association (ABNA) and former national goal shoot, Karen Joseph, labelled the situation which led to the recent Battle of the Saints tournament in St Maarten being contested between only two teams as unfortunate, but added it was too late for the country’s senior women to follow suit.
Only the host country St Maarten and Antigua and Barbuda competed in the ranking tournament after other teams, to include St Kitts and Grenada pulled out at the eleventh hour.
“We already had our tickets and so on and it would have been in poor taste if we would have pulled out as well. The scores did not reflect well on St Maarten’s part and also because the defense for St Maarten was a bit short and we have a taller one, but St Maarten has a team to be reckoned with because those players gave our team a good run,” she said.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Joseph agreed that there is a need for tougher competition after having placed second in 2019 and then winning in 2021.
However, she said the tournament was good preparation for a number of tournaments slated for 2022, to include a World Cup qualifier.
“Had the teams come to the competition, like Caymans, St Kitts and so on, then it would have been a force to be reckoned with. I know they are not going to host it next year but they are going to review it because of the world qualifiers in October in Jamaica, so when I look at it I realise they are trying to make it better. We do have to look at what we are going into but we cannot stay in Antigua and play amongst ourselves and know the true potential of our players,” the former player said.
Joseph, who was once ranked number two shooter in the world, hinted that preparations will start shortly for 2022.
“Basically, we are having a meeting next month with all of the girls and by January we will be on board. We have started the process already in terms of marketing of players and so on. We cannot sit down and expect things to happen for us, we have to work for what we want,” she said.
Antigua and Barbuda went unbeaten in the Battle of the Saints tournament while a number of players earned top individual awards.