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Nevers hits back - Former Sunshine Girls coach responds to criticism

Published:Thursday | December 12, 2019 | 12:16 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Former Sunshine Girls assistant coach Winston Nevers (right) speaks with goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler (left) while looking on is former head coach Marvette Anderson during a Lasco Sunshine Series match against the England Roses at the National Indoor Sports Centre on Saturday, October 13, 2018.
Former Sunshine Girls assistant coach Winston Nevers (right) speaks with goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler (left) while looking on is former head coach Marvette Anderson during a Lasco Sunshine Series match against the England Roses at the National Indoor Sports Centre on Saturday, October 13, 2018.

Former Sunshine Girls assistant coach Winston Nevers has hit back following recent criticism from team captain Jhaniele Fowler, who questioned his coaching acumen following the team’s ill-fated Netball World Cup (NWC) campaign in Liverpool, England, in July.

Fowler blasted Nevers and former head coach Marvette Anderson, arguing that they offered very little coaching and tactical guidance during the competition, where the Jamaicans finished a disappointing fifth after arriving at the tournament with title ambitions.

Both Nevers and Anderson have since parted ways with Netball Jamaica, with their contracts not being renwed by the body. However, the experienced coach pointed to what he described as rampant indiscipline, insubordination and in-fighting as the main reasons for the team’s NWC failures and is calling for a shake-up in the attitudes of the players.

Fowler, while speaking on HITZ 92 FM’s Sports Explosion, criticised the coaches’ tactical preparation, especially for big games, and blamed the pair for the team’s poor showing.

However, Nevers revealed that some players were particularly uncooperative and that it was that type of behaviour that led to their downfall, especially in key matches against big teams.

“Fowler talks but doesn’t have enough facts. Fowler wasn’t here. Fowler attended about three of my coaching sessions (in Jamaica). Some players didn’t accept what I was giving them, and on at least three occasions, I had confrontations with players. One player, I asked to move the ball faster in a practice game, but she told me she’s not doing it,” Nevers claimed.

He added that he actually resigned his position after a player categorically refused to complete a training drill but was persuaded by Netball Jamaica president Paula Daley-Morris and director Wayne Shaw to reconsider.

“The president said the media was going to come and we would lose sponsors and told me to keep it down. She gave me power to suspend (players) but asked me not to suspend for long, just a session or two. But when we went overseas they (players) continued to dictate to us. They didn’t want two training sessions a day. Players would go on the road shopping while some went out with family (during sessions). So those are some of the things I faced,” Nevers stated.

Confrontations

Nevers pointed to a particular incident involving Nadine Dixon and Adean Thomas, who he said had a confrontation during the tournament as indicative of the self-damaging, in-fighting between members of the team.

“Adean wasn’t playing well, but it wasn’t that she wasn’t playing well. They (some players) were playing Adean out of the game. When we took out Adean and put in the injured Nadine (Dixon), the team played better because they wanted to play with Dixon,” Nevers claimed before warning that the problem would remain if not addressed properly.

“In 2011 and 2015, we had the problem, and now we have the problem again. They are going to love (new coach) Connie (Francis) now, but in another year or two, the same problem will arise if the same players are there. They are spoiled, and indiscipline will continue to rear its head,” Nevers warned.

“Khadijah (Williams) needs to calm down. She is a very good player. But if I was in charge, I would give her a year to look into herself. Shanice Beckford is the best goal attack in the world, but she needs to work harder and get back her standard,” Nevers advised.

Nevers is one of the most successful local netball coaches, having won numerous national titles during his career.