Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Francis tipped for Sunshine Girls job

Published:Thursday | January 5, 2017 | 1:00 AMRobert Bailey
Francis

Former national player and coach Connie Francis is being heavily tipped to become the next head coach of Jamaica's national senior netball team, the Sunshine Girls.

Netball Jamaica (NJ) is set to meet next Thursday, at which point instructions are expected to be handed down to its technical committee to officially identify and engage a new coach.

However, The Gleaner has been reliably informed by sources close to the situation that Francis is the clear favourite to land the job.

The vastly experienced Francis, who recently led Jamaica at the FAST5 Netball World Series in New Zealand, would be returning for her second stint as the Sunshine Girls head coach.

Francis, who represented Waulgrovians during her playing career, led the Sunshine Girls to a bronze medal at the World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2007.

The tough-talking tactician also guided the Jamaicans to the bronze medal at the inaugural FastNet Championships in 2008.

Efforts to gauge Francis' interest in the post proved futile as she could not be reached for comment yesterday.

 

WITHOUT HEAD COACH

 

Meanwhile, the Sunshine Girls have been without a head coach since Minneth Reynolds ended her contract with NJ one year before its expiration, following a surprising series win over arch-rivals England.

Reynolds had led the team to a 2-1 victory over England, which followed a 0-3 loss to New Zealand, but said she believed it was time for her to step aside and give the opportunity to another individual.

"I think I needed a ... break. I have been in the programme since 2005, and I think its' time for someone else. There is no regret; I have done my time," Reynolds said.

Francis has received support from several quarters of the netball fraternity, with top local coach Winston Nevers pointing to the former player as his ideal candidate for the job.

"I think Netball Jamaica should look at Connie Francis because she is the best person now to handle the programme. I think she is ready for the job and she can also get the best out of these players," Nevers told The Gleaner.

Francis represented Jamaica at five World Championships.

After coaching Jamaica to the bronze in 2007, Francis was relieved of her duties ahead of the 2011 World Championships. She then had a stint with the St Lucia national team.