Dr Paul Wright | Pay our own what they deserve
The news about the sudden resignation of Sasher-Gaye Henry as one of the coaches of our national senior netball team, the Sunshine Girls, seems to have caught everybody unawares, including the hierarchy of Netball Jamaica.
Since Paul Daley Morris was confirmed as the leader of Netball Jamaica, there have been three changes to coaching staff of the team in a two-year period.
I can recall: Minneth Reynolds, Jermaine Allison-McCraken, and now, Henry. What is even stranger, is the fact that two of the resignations took place after spectacular success against top-tier teams in global netball.
Coach Reynolds resigned immediately after beating England, in England. Henry resigned after twice beating New Zealand in New Zealand during the Quad Series, and once during the Commonwealth Games in Australia, losing to England by one point in the semi-finals of those Games. England, of course, went on to beat the mighty Australia by one point in the gold medal match.
It is usual, in the world of sports, that unsuccessful managers-coaches of sports teams are encouraged to resign, or are fired, but as is now usual in Jamaica, the exact opposite happens.
Unsuccessful coaches are paid exorbitant sums and seem to hang on to their jobs. We are well aware of the vast disparity in the salary of the accented and melanin-challenged coach of our senior football team; who have had spectacular success with men who (on paper) were nowhere near the skill level of the men selected by the "foreign" coach that preceded him.
Talks with the local coach were apparently stalled until a resignation and the disparity adjusted. It has been reported that one of the reasons behind Henry's resignation was her salary in comparison to reported monthly take home of the previous coach, whose tenure is indelibly linked to a defeat by Barbados.
My information is that Allison-McCracken's monthly package came in at the $250,000 range, while the recently resigned coach had a package of $75,000 monthly. Efforts at resolving the matter, as usual, came to nought, so a resignation followed. This time, however, there was no meeting with the coach to hear if there was any way that the matter could be discussed.
Oddly, Henry was one of a two-coach experiment that got results. She was well liked and respected by the players and was personally responsible for some of the disgruntled players agreeing to be a part of the Sunshine Girls' foray into the Commonwealth Games.
Her methods worked, but as we now know, the money was small. The peculiar aspect of the finances of Netball Jamaica being tight is strange, if one recalls the statement form the president and spokesperson, when asked more than a year ago about sponsorship. The public was told that many sponsors were anxious to come on board, hence the very attractive package offered to a coach with absolutely no international experience.
I do believe that one day the truth will come out as to why Reynolds and Henry left, and stability will be the order of the day, with a local, melaninised coach at the helm. Our sports administrators have to get out of the mindset that mandates "foreign" over "local", and "local" if given a chance, then only at a fraction of what we are prepared to pay "foreign".
To accept the resignation of Coach Henry, without a meeting, and to announce that the way is now open for another coach to "step up to the plate" smacks of gross disrespect and flippancy, that our netball ambassadors do not deserve. Maybe the Minister of Sports, the Honourable Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, needs to request a meeting. Just asking.
- Dr Paul Wright is a noted sports medicine specialist and radio personality.