Mon | Jan 22, 2018

Wake-up call for J'can netball - Campbell

Published:Tuesday | June 6, 2017 | 12:00 AMAndre Lowe
Jamaica's goal attack Rebekah Robinson (left) tackles Barbados goal defence Rhe-Ann Niles for possession of the ball during the first quarter of of game three of their three Test series at the National Arena recently. Jamaica lost that game 43-41.

Netball insider Sylvester Campbell believes Jamaica's recent tie with Barbados in their three Tests series should serve as a wake-up call, adding that the result showed that a lot of work is needed to develop the country's fringe players into top international quality talent.

Campbell also weighed in on the performance of coach, Jermaine Allison-McCracken, during what was her first series with the team and her first as a head coach at the senior international level.

He called for an assessment of the coach, and believes the upcoming Caribbean Netball Championships should serve as a make-or-break for Allison-McCracken, who was appointed in March on a six month probationary deal.

An under-strength Sunshine Girls team was held to a 1-1 tie against the world number 12 ranked Bajans a few weeks ago, and Campbell is of the view that Jamaica's second-tier level national players need to show improvement.


Constant work


"It's a wake-up call to Jamaica. We must understand we do not have any given right to netball; we must constantly be working hard. Bear in mind that the crop of our strongest players were overseas just one or two of our strongest players were here, so of the 12, 10 were away," Campbell told The Gleaner.

"So the second tier of players is not where they are supposed to be and we need to do some remedial work at that level. That will come through the Berger League because that's the league that is supposed to develop our second and third tier players," added Campbell, a respected local coach and long-time international umpire.

"We are better than Barbados on any given day, given our performance against England and who were present then and who was present now, so if we put it together we should really be way above Barbados, but it was unfortunate that we drew that series against Barbados so we need to look at who we have going forward," said Campbell, who dismissed suggestions that Jamaica should have easily beaten the Bajans despite the heavy turnover.

"That's a myth, we should get that out of our minds and we should be constantly working hard. That Barbados team is a pretty good team. I have watched those players from Under-16 coming up, and we didn't have our best out there," Campbell noted before turning his attention to the coach.

"I believe that the high performance person, who at this moment is Maureen Hall, needs to assess her (Allison-McCracken's) performance. I have not been to much of her training sessions per se, but she came highly qualified with paperwork, but in terms of the practical stuff netball is a practical game so I think we should revisit some of what she is doing, the programme she has there is it working?

"Coming close to the Barbados series, I think the concentration was around preparation work. Perhaps they needed to be doing more court work at that time and not being in the swimming pool as much, and that is what most persons are having a problem with," he said.

"She has a six-month probation, so I think she should be given that time, and at the end of it, Netball Jamaica can decide whether or not we keep her," Campbell added. "We also need to pay attention to her programme for the next three months and see if she is carrying us in the right direction."