By Neto Baptiste
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Netball Association (ABNA) and former national goal shoot, Karen Joseph, said the existing protocols handed down by the sport’s world governing body AFNA (Americas Federation of Netball Association), may need remodeling before the game could return at a competitive level here.
According to the former world-ranked shooter, current stipulations state that players should adhere to a five feet distance while on the court. She said this in itself could limit the competitive nature of the games.
“You can imagine not being close enough to defend a ball from a shooter and how that would put both teams at a disadvantage? It’s a lot of things where netball is concerned, so that is why it is kind of [difficult] to have netball. They even looked at the five-a-side aspect of it and see where we can go from there in terms of Covid and it’s still so ticklish where netball is concerned, so for now, I don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said.
The national league was slated to start in March last year, but had to be abandoned due to the outbreaking coronavirus pandemic. This means there has been no association netball since 2019.
Joseph said the aim is to not only restart at the national level, but to create opportunities for teams to compete in countries like England and Australia in hopes of exposing young players to opportunities.
“For me, it’s to get back into the netball arena and expose my girls, try to travel as much as possible, and even to go to England for exhibition games so that teams and coaches over there could see my girls, because I know I have raw talent and especially in the national team presently, so I know for a fact that we can get there and that’s what I am going to push for,” she said.
The association was recently forced to postpone it’s hosting of the OECS International series to
August this year. The event, which was previously slated for April in 2020, had already been postponed to May this year, but further complications resulted in the most recent delay.