Seven newcomers in Jamaica's under-16 squad
Ryon Jones, Gleaner Writer
Seven first timers were among the 12 member team of under-16 Sunshine Girls who left the island yesterday for Barbados where they will seek to defend their title at the Jean Pierre Caribbean Netball Championship.
Head coach Joan Cargill believes that the newcomers have the requisite experience to do well.
"Whether they are new or not, they have experience here with our club league, so they will be able to rise and give us what we ask of them," said Cargill. "The girls are well prepared and I know they are confident. However, when we reach there and we have an idea what the other teams are like, strategies will be in place for each team we meet," she added.
Cargill expects the strongest challenge to come from Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, but remains confident that Jamaica will come out on top.
"They will always come good, but whatever teams are, there we will rise to the occasion. If there are any mishaps things are in place so we just have to be positive."
The format of the tournament has been changed and will now see the stronger teams competing in one zone, while the weaker teams will play in another. Jamaica's zone will comprise of Dominica, Barbados, St Lucia, Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago. Jamaica will bow into action on Sunday, when they play Dominica. The team will return to the island on the April 18.
Fifteen year-old Wolmerian, Venessa Jones, the captain of the team, wants to prove to the rest of the region that Jamaica's girls are number one.
"We have what it takes. We have put in a lot of hard work and Jamaicans are always a cut above the rest, so we are going out there to prove to them that we are number one, but at the same time we won't take any team for granted," said Jones. "Going into this tournament I expect all 12 girls to do well," she added.
Jamaica Netball Association (JNA) President, Marva Bernard encouraged the girls to play hard and fair and reminded them to be gracious at all times.
"Represent yourselves and your country well and most of all, enjoy yourselves. You must be remembered as gracious winners," Bernard said.