Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Bajan official: Regional standard must improve


Barbados’s top netball official hopes the appointment of a regional director and an increased international playing schedule can help raise the overall standard of the game in the Caribbean.

Barbados finished second to eventual champions Trinidad and Tobago in the Americas Federation of Netball Associations (AFNA) Championships in Calgary, Canada, which concluded on Monday.

And while Barbados secured qualification for next year’s Netball World Cup in Sydney, Australia, Barbados Netball Association president Nisha Craigwell said more needed to be done to help their regional counter­parts.

“We certainly wanted to defeat Trinidad and Tobago to win AFNA, but we are concerned over the disparity between T&T and Barbados and the other teams in our region,” Craigwell told the Nation Newspaper on the team’s return home Tuesday.

“We are hoping that the soonest installation of a regional director will assist with the raising of our netball in our region.”

She added: “We have to look to T&T and Jamaica, who are ranked third in the world, to play meaningful Test matches that would not be a financial burden.”

Barbados and T&T dominated the AFNA competition, playing unbeaten until the final round of games on Monday when T&T came away with a 53-46 victory over the Barbadians.

T&T topped the standings with 12 points with Barbados second on ten, but Grenada won just twice in six outings to finish fifth on four points while Cayman Islands claimed a single win to finish one from last in the seven-team campaign.

The recent Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, followed a similar pattern with Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls—the Caribbean’s top-rated side—finishing with bronze, but all the other Caribbean teams struggling.

Both Barbados and St Lucia failed to win a single game in five outings, while T&T won just once when they edged Barbados in Pool B.

Craigwell said there was an urgent need for teams like Barbados, and other Caribbean nations, to play more international matches.

“We received an invitation from South Africa to play a three-Test series, which we had to decline since the cost per ticket to South Africa is BDS$6,000 per person,” she explained.