Thu | Nov 14, 2019

Bernard supports Francis appointment

Published:Friday | October 18, 2019 | 12:29 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
In this file photo from November 2005, Connie Francis (standing) talks tactics during one of her coaching sessions with the senior national netball team.
In this file photo from November 2005, Connie Francis (standing) talks tactics during one of her coaching sessions with the senior national netball team.

“If anybody can, Connie Francis can.” Those are the words of former president of Netball Jamaica (NJ) Marva Bernard expressing her delight with the reappointment of Francis as the head coach of the senior national team.

Francis was appointed to the post earlier this week after the contracts of head coach Marvette Anderson and her assistant, Winston Nevers was not renewed by NJ. Their departure follows the Sunshine Girls’ fifth-place finish at the Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England, in July.

The Jamaicans also failed to make the semi-finals of the tournament for the first time since 1995.

Bernard, who led NJ from 2005-2015, first appointed Francis to the post in 2007. Francis then went on to lead to the Sunshine Girls to the bronze medal at the World Championships in the same year.

Since then, the Jamaicans have failed to win a medal at the last three World Championships. She also led the Sunshine Girls to a silver medal at the FastNet Series in 2009 before she was replaced by former national teammate Oberon Pitterson.

“I am very happy to read that Connie has been appointed to the team,” Bernard said. “She is one of four Jamaican coaches who could take this team forward, and being the one who is interested, I am very supportive of the decision to appoint her.

“She is experienced, and if she is given the tools that she will need to do her work, then she will do a good job.”

The Sunshine Girls, who are ranked fourth in the world, are scheduled to face hosts England, world champions New Zealand, and South Africa in a Quad Series in January.

Brown agrees

Global United coach Derrick Brown agrees with Bernard that Francis is the best person to lead the Sunshine Girls forward.

“I think it is the right decision because she is a good coach,” he said. “There is limited time to prepare the team for the Quad Series in January, so I think that this is the best choice for them right now. She also has a lot of experience under her belt because she has coached the team before and she has done well.”

Bernard said that after the team’s campaign at the World Cup last summer, it is very important that the Sunshine Girls perform well in the upcoming series to regain their confidence.

“This is a very important series coming up, so we have to go with a strong team because we are playing against South Africa, England, and New Zealand,” Bernard said.

“She will have to go in there in the dead of winter with a team that will bring back some of the confidence to the players. It will also give her an opportunity to see how some of the additions to the squad will fit into this kind of competition.”

robert.bailey@gleanerjm.com