By Carlena Knight
A fresh appeal has been made by president of the local Netball Association Karen Joseph to the public to support the senior female national team raise funds for next month’s qualifiers.
Joseph reiterated the call late last week following news that despite previous fundraising efforts, the body has only been able to obtain twenty-five percent of the EC$100,000 needed to travel and compete at the Netball World Cup Qualifiers slated for October 15-22 in Jamaica.
She explained that they have been receiving support from corporate Antigua and the Ministry of Sports, but admitted that a lot more can be done.
“It’s a struggle, but I must say that I have a couple of people to be thankful for. I must mention Kez Imports. They worked with us earlier this year and they are back with us again. Also, Sting Ray City, my villager, and also the NOC has always been on board. We are twenty-five percent there and we are pleading with the public to come on board. The girls are working hard,” Joseph said.
The October qualifiers will see two teams advancing to next year’s Netball World Cup scheduled for July 28 to August 6 in Cape Town, South Africa.
The team is expected to fly out on October 13, but Joseph revealed that they are still struggling to purchase airline tickets.
With just three weeks left to go, Joseph mentioned that they will be moving forward vigorously to gather funds.
“We are still going to be out there trying to source some funds, but I am still pleading with the public to come on board. We had sent out some letters to the different establishments to ask for sponsorship and we are hoping that things will work out for us. We are also rallying with the girls to get certain things in place mentally because we are trying to avoid them stressing about finance because they have lot of work to do in terms of the court aspect of it, so we take on the burden for that,” Joseph explained.
Joseph admitted that it has been a stressful situation for the association as they have had to dip in their own pockets for a number of things including uniforms and first aid and technical equipment.
Some of those items are still outstanding according to Head Coach Lisa Smith.
“We need track suits for the opening ceremony, what they wear to and from the courts. We have dresses that we already ordered, but we need training tops because they can’t be training in their dresses. You don’t want to get sweaty training and warming up in them. It’s a whole kit and it’s all needed.
“You don’t want to expect girls to have to share dresses or even train in them and play in them that very night. It’s not to be expected of somebody that’s sweating on court for an hour and goes off and has to wash their dresses in order to wear them for that night for an international game, it’s unacceptable,” Smith added.
Travel bags were donated by Mrs Spencer, a contributor from overseas.
The other countries already confirmed for the October qualifiers are Barbados, Cayman Islands, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and The Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and the USA.
Hosts Jamaica have already qualified for next year’s Netball World Cup.