End on a high - Sunshine Girls look to close out nightmare World Cup campaign in fifth place
It may not have been what they were aiming for at the start of the championships, but Jamaica’s senior netball team – Sunshine Girls – will be aiming to wrap up their campaign on a high note when they compete in the fifth- and sixth-place playoff against Malawi at the Vitality Netball World Cup starting at 5:00 a.m. (Jamaica time).
The Marvette Anderson-coached Sunshine Girls have once again failed to sparkle at the tournament after they failed to secure a spot in the semi-finals of the competition, which is taking place at the M&S Bank Arena.
In fact, the Sunshine Girls, who have not won a medal at the championships since 2007, are missing the semi-finals for the first time since 1995.
Today’s matchup against Malawi should be a very exciting encounter as when both teams last met at the championships in 2015, the Sunshine Girls barely got the better of their African counterparts, edging them by a single point in a tense encounter.
“It is very difficult to be in this position, and it is painful, but this is what it is, and we have to remember that we are here still representing our country. We have to make sure that we are on the ball because we want to end on a good note,” said assistant coach Winston Nevers.
“We want to leave everything on the court because we want to show our quality, and we want to show our class, and so definitely, we want to have a big game at the end of this tournament,” he said.
However, the veteran coach added that the Girls were well aware of the threat that the Malawi team presents and underlined that they were not taking anything for granted going into the contest.
“I am expecting Malawi to play well because they always give us a good run for our money,” said Nevers.
“We know that Malawi’s style is a different style from ours, and so what we are planning to do is to make sure we keep possession of the ball, and we want to defend as close as possible and ensure that we close them down very early in the game,” he said.
The Sunshine Girls will look to the likes of captain and goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler, along with vice captain and defender Vangelee Williams, to lead their efforts today.
They should receive solid support from goal attack Shanice Beckford, centre Nicole Dixon, wing attack Khadijah Williams, and defenders Shamera Sterling and Stacian Facey.