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We expect medals! - Former Sunshine Girls Forbes, Henry forecast Jamaica podium finish at Netball World Cup

Published:Monday | July 8, 2019 | 12:00 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Jhaniele Fowler-Reid (right) prepares to shoot ahead of South Africa’s Phumza Maweni (centre), as Shanice Beckford (left) and Karla Pretorius covers during their Pool A Commonwealth Games netball game on the Gold Coast in Australia on Friday, April 6, 2018. File
Members of Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls team react after a win at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, where they won the bronze medal in April last year. FILE
England goal defence Layla Guscoth challenges Jamaica goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler (left) during their Sunshine Series Test match at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston on Saturday, October 13, 2018. File

Former national senior netball players Simone Forbes and Sasher-Gaye Henry said they are very anxious to see the Sunshine Girls end their 12-year medal drought at this month’s Netball World Cup (NWC) tournament, which will begin in Liverpool, England, on Friday.

Forbes and Henry were members of the Sunshine Girls unit that last won a bronze medal at the 2007 NWC in Auckland, New Zealand. However, since then, the Jamaicans have finished fourth twice – in 2011 and 2015.

Forbes, who is rated as the one of the best goal attacks to have ever played the sport, was vice-captain of the Sunshine Girls team in 2007.

She told The Gleaner that Netball Jamaica has assembled a powerful team for the tournament, so she is very optimistic that they will be on the podium at the end of the competition.

“It has been 12 years since we last won a medal, and these ladies, especially doing so well at the last Commonwealth Games, and last year was a good year for them, I really don’t see us not winning a medal this year,” she said.

“I believe that this year, we should break that spell because when we won the bronze medal in 2007, it was an awesome feeling because I remember that year being a challenging year for the team.

“We started out with seven and eight players, so when we won that medal, it felt like gold due to all the challenges that we had to go through and all the effort and sacrifices the girls had to make.

“Fast-forward to this World Championships, I am twice as excited for this team, especially with the talent pool that we have,” she said.


Forbes warned, however, that the Sunshine Girls should not take any of the teams lightly at the competition.

“We know that we have a very good team, and we know they are talented and they are working hard. So are other teams, and it is not going to be easy,” she said.

Henry, who coached the Sunshine Girls to a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia, in April 2018 before resigning in July that year, said that the NWC is going to be tough, but that she also believes that the Jamaicans can come away with a podium finish.

“I think the Sunshine Girls can get into medal contention for first and second place, and they can even win the gold,” she said. “However, it all goes down to how well we manage the players and how well they play on the day in terms of limiting their turnovers and making the shots well.

“The good thing is that we are now second in the world, and that is a boost for us because it is the first that we have reached this far in the rankings, and it speaks a lot of volume for us. It is certainly going to give us a lot of confidence, and they will try to push their best to execute on the day to ensure that we win a medal.”