Visa woes, money problems hit national hockey team
Published: Thursday | January 1, 2009
Despite having selected a 16-man squad for participation in the third Pan American Cup in Hamilton, Bermuda, from February 6-15, the Jamaica Hockey Federation (JHF) continues to face a myriad of problems ahead of the event.
Four members of the squad, led by captain Nicole Grant, have already been denied visas by the United States Embassy, while another four players are awaiting dates set for later this month. In order to enter Bermuda, both a United States and British visa are required.
"We have been in contact with the Jamaica Olympic Association to see what can be done in this regard, as the tournament is an important one for us," President of the JHF, Victor Tomlinson, told The Gleaner.
"With our objective being qualification for the Commonwealth Games next year, we have a number of events on our calendar and this is necessary for a good start," he added.
In addition to some members not receiving visas, the team is yet to have a J$3.4m budget, which was submitted to the Sports Development Foundation (SDF) for participation in the tournament approved by the sporting body.
"We expect to get a response and a definite figure by next week, but a major problem for us is that things like the devaluation of the dollar have increased the figure," he said.
"In addition to that, we had to change accommodation plans, due to the fact. That the original venue is now closed for renovation. That led to a 25 per cent increase in cost," he explained.
Garnered additional support
"We have managed to garner some additional support, which we will announce by next week, but, to a large extent, the possibility of us taking part in the tournament hinges on the SDF," he added.
Other members of the squad include vice-captain Dadreann Clarke, Patrice Clarke, Kameisha Erskine, Fayona Mullings (GK), Krystal Reid, Sharee Russell, Shana-Kay Tullonge, Shackera Williams along with first-timers Suwana Gordon, Camille Robinson, Sasha-Gale Thomas, Pikeshia Powell (GK) and twin sisters Shakeela and Shareeka Elliot.
Standbys for team are Alicia Francis (GK), Vanissa Glen and Trudy Ann Campbell.
The contingent is completed with coach - Christine Barclay, who guided the 2007 Caribbean Cup silver medal team; manager - Dave Lemard and assistant manager Denise Wisdom. The team, which started out with a squad of 30-odd players, has been in training since April.