ST. JOHN’S, ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA – Former national player and head coach of the Antigua and Babuda national Under-23 netball team Shenneth Samuel, said players must be more committed if the quality of play at both the national and league levels is to improve here.

Her observation comes on the heels of a disappointing showing by the Under-23 team at the 2018 ECCB / OECS championships in St. Kitts, and ahead of the senior team’s scheduled trip to Barbados for the Americas Federation of Netball Associations – AFNA, qualifiers slated for September.

“100 percent or nothing and that is what I am pushing. We need a change of mind-set because we’re supposed to be training a team to go to Barbados and I do not know whether Miss Joseph wants to address it or not but I will. They come in one by one, they come in two by two, but there was a team here from England last night [Monday] and they were there in their numbers to play,” she said.

“We’ve been there for practice forever and they come in piece at a time and even with school children. Once we call children out to practice they come late in their slippers and socks and then they have to sit down for two hours to put on their gear so it’s a mind-set,” the coach added.

Meanwhile, President of the Antigua and Barbuda Netball Association (ABNA) and former national goal shoot, Karen Joseph, believes it will take an all-inclusive effort if Antigua’s netball is to return to its glory days both here and around the region.

“As a president, I look forward to us coming together as netballers and working together as a unit and even with the Under-23, to keep the team together we need to focus on them once per month or once per week to train and keep them in a camp situation and let them focus their minds on competitiveness,” she said.

“We also need to travel maybe every three months and go to another country to sort of boost their morale because they need it. We have gotten invitations from St. Marteen and stuff like that, so we are looking at travelling maybe at the end of the year,” Joseph added.

The netball boss went on to highlight the importance of a strong bond between her association and the national school’s programme, a bond she believes holds significant value for the continued development and progression of the game here.

“We have to work hand in hand because the foundation starts from the schools, and if the foundation is slack then it is going to continue getting slacker at the top so to me, we have to work in collaboration with school’s netball for us to build back the foundation of netball in Antigua and in all aspects like footwork, proper passing and just the whole netball,” she said.
Antigua and Barbuda national Under-23 team won only one of its five matches in St. Kitts, beating Nevis 45-13. (antiguaobserver)