'Great for regional development' - Coaches praise high-school netball tournament
A number of the region's high schools netball coaches have described this year's inaugural staging of the Americas Federation of Netball Associations (AFNA) Champion of Champions High Schools Netball Tournament a major success.
The one-week championships, which was organised by former president of Netball Jamaica Marva Bernard, saw nine high schools from across the region taking part.
Excelsior emerged the champions of the tournament after defeating Holmwood Technical 46-27 in the final on Saturday at the Leila Robinson courts.
Christopher Smart, coach of champions Excelsior, said the competition was very exciting and will help to improve the game in the region.
"I think this competition can only grow and be better, and so, I must commend Marva Bernard and her committee because I think they outdid themselves," said Smart. "I think this competition can only do well for the region because I believe that all the teams which participated in this competition will be taking something back, and come next season, I am sure we are going to have tougher challenges."
It was a sentiment shared by Carline Graham-Powell, coach of the Holmwood team.
"It is about giving the girls experience and it is about honing skills, and there were a lot of girls on all the squads who have their sights on playing for their countries in the upcoming youth tournament in 2021, so a lot of these girls got some experience, which they will take into this tournament," said Graham-Powell.
"There are hardly any championships from the Under-16 tournament to the Under-21 in the region, so this tournament is something that will give these girls some amount of experience going in the World Youth Championships," she said.
On the other hand, Julie Phillips, coach of Springer Memorial from Barbados, believes the tournament will help the region to produce more top-class netballers.
"It is good for the region to expose the children because in order for our region to improve, we need to have constant competition among all the different age groups so that there can be a good feeder system into the national teams," Phillips said.