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Former Kiwi ace backs Sunshine Girls

Published:Friday | August 17, 2018 | 12:00 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Irene Van Dyke

Former South Africa and New Zealand goalshooter Irene Van Dyke says Jamaica's Sunshine Girls stand a very good chance of winning the gold medal at the next World Championships in Liverpool, England.

Van Dyke told The Gleaner that competition among the top four teams in the world is now very close, and anyone can win on the day.

"If you look at Australia, England, New Zealand, and Jamaica, there is literally nothing between them," said Van Dyke.

"I think that the fact that so many Jamaicans players are playing in the English league, in the Australian and in the New Zealand league, it has upped the tempo and the competitiveness as well," she said.

"I would say the Sunshine Girls are nearly in the top two, because this year at the Commonwealth Games, England beat Australia and Jamaica beat the Silver Ferns (New Zealand). It is who plays the better game on the day that will win, and so there is not a lot of difference between the top four countries," she said.

Van Dyke, who played for both South Africa and New Zealand during her illustrious career, added that the Sunshine Girls are very talented, but they need to learn how to manage the game in crucial moments.

Incredibly Talented

"They are incredibly talented, they are athletic, fast and strong, and if you have people to feed (the ball into) shooters Romelda Aiken and Jhaniele Fowler-Reid, then you can't go wrong," she said.

"They are so strong under the goalpost, you really just have to feed the ball properly," Van Dyke said.

Van Dyke is currently in the island as part of Netball Jamaica's 60th anniversary celebrations. She is also conducting a number of courses with local coaches.