Wed | Oct 20, 2021

Allison-McCracken backs inexperienced Sunshine Girls

Published:Thursday | May 18, 2017 | 12:00 AMRobert Bailey
Members of the Barbados national netball team pose for pictures upon arrival at the Norman Manley International Airport yesterday for a series against Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls. The opening game takes place today at the National Arena at 7 p.m.

All eyes will be fixed on head coach Jermaine Allison-McCracken when Jamaica's Sunshine Girls take on Caribbean side Barbados in the opening match of their three-Test series today.

The match will be played at the National Arena, starting at 7 p.m.

The Britain-born Allison-McCracken, who was installed as head coach in March, has come in for a lot of criticism in recent weeks after she sent home three senior players - Shanice Beckford, Khadijah Williams and Nicole Dixon - for what she deemed "inappropriate behaviour".

Allison-McCracken, who is coaching at this level for the first time, has assembled a largely inexperienced unit for the series.

The Sunshine Girls team includes seven newcomers, who will be making their senior team debut in the series. Shameera Sterling, Stacy-Ann Facey and Thristina Harwood are the most capped players on Jamaica's team.

The team will be without a number of the senior players for the series, including the likes of top shooters Romelda Aiken and Jhaniele Fowler Reid, along with Vangelee Williams, Malysha Kelly, Paula Thompson, and Kadie-Ann Duhaney

However, despite this, Allison-McCracken said the Sunshine Girls unit has a lot of quality and she is confident that the team will do well in the series.

"I have an amazing squad. I have real depth in the squad and range of players in each area and so I have choices," said Allison-McCracken.

Meanwhile, Sandra Bruce-Small, coach of Barbados' netball team, said she is expecting a tough series from the Sunshine Girls despite the absence of a number of their senior players.

"I don't know much about the composition, but I have recognised quite a few of the senior girls and so I always expect that any Jamaican team will be a strong team," said Bruce-Small.

"Jamaica is ranked number four in the world and we are ranked number 12 and so, we are the underdogs here," she said.

Bruce-Small added: "I figure that Jamaica is very strong in the region, and so even without their senior players, I think that Jamaica will still have a very strong team," Bruce-Small added.