Sunshine Girls aim to replicate medal finish
Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Minnett Reynolds, head coach of Jamaica's Sunshine Girls, said they are aiming to improve their standing at the Fast5 Netball World Series in New Zealand.
Reynolds told The Gleaner in an interview on Tuesday that, despite the absence of top goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler-Reid and centre court specialist Paula Thompson, the players are confident and will give a good account of themselves at the tournament, which will be held from November 8-9.
The Sunshine Girls finished fourth at last year's tournament, which was also held in New Zealand.
"We don't have the same team that went to the Commonwealth Games, but these girls are just as good and ready to participate and give of their best in the Fast5 tournament for us," said Reynolds.
"They are pretty confident because they want to tell Jamaica that getting a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games was not a fluke, and so they want to take it a bit further," she said.
Despite the absence of Fowler, the Sunshine Girls attack will be led by the vastly experienced Romelda Aiken, as well as last year's Most Valuable Player of the tournament, Thristina Harwood.
"The spirit is very high and the girls are really highly motivated and looking forward to participate in this Fast5 tournament," Reynolds said.
"Romelda will be there, but we are not looking to any particular player, because all 10 girls will be representing us well at the tournament."
Reynolds noted that their preparations leading into the tournament have somewhat been affected by the outbreak of the chikungunya virus.
"We have a few little worries in the camp, but we are working on it," she said. "At the moment, our manager has chik-V and one of the players (Stacian Facey) who is travelling with us also has the chik-V right now," Reynolds said. "But this is not really a concern, but we are hoping that they will be fit and ready by the time we are ready to leave on Sunday."
The Sunshine Girls will enter the championships on a high after capturing the bronze medal at this year's Commonwealth Games in August. However, despite this, Reynolds added that the players are focused on the task ahead.
"There is absolutely no pressure at all on them, they just know that they have to go out there and compete at their best," said Reynolds.