A confident Sunshine Girls squad departs the island today for the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in El Salvador, with Nicole Aiken-Pinnock, the team’s head coach for the tournament, emphasising the significance of players executing well.
The 24th staging of the CAC Games started on Friday, June 23 but the netball competition will begin on Monday, July 3.
“The camp was very good. I mean, it’s always good having the ladies in settings like these before going into a tournament, and it has really helped with team building and it also ensures that we become familiar with each other,” Aiken-Pinnock, who made her senior debut for Jamaica at the 2006 Commonwealth Games before retiring in 2018, said.
“It doesn’t matter at what level of competition you are participating, once you are representing your country there will always be expectations, therefore we have to ensure that we are ready for the task at hand so that we can give a good representation at the games. And, if we do our job well then the results will definitely come,” added Aiken-Pinnock who, as a player, captained the Sunshine Girls to a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Aiken-Pinnock…it doesn’t matter what level of competition you are participating, once you are representing your country there will always be expectations.
The Jamaicans are kick off their campaign against Barbados on Monday.
While the Sunshine Girls are ranked fourth in the world, making them the gold medal favourites, it is critical to assemble a quality team with depth. The addition of experienced Adean Thomas and Rebekah Robinson to join rising stars Crystal Plummer, Abigale Sutherland, and defender Kimone Shaw — who are all part of the squad for the Vitality Netball World Cup later this year — should give the Jamaicans an advantage.
Aiken-Pinnock also stressed the importance of consistency in the team’s performances.
“We take nothing for granted, and so we have ensure that we turn up and play each game to the best of our ability until the final whistle blows. The ball is round and the championship will not be handed to us — we will have to work hard for it. This also reminds us to keep each other accountable in ensuring that we get the job done,” the 37-year-old coach told the Jamaica Observer.
On Sunday the Sunshine Girls attended service at Tarrant Baptist Church on Molynes Road, seeking God’s blessings for the task ahead.
“It is customary that the team visits a church the Sunday before we leave for a tournament. We acknowledge God for who He is and the blessings that He has granted upon us.
“We also recognise that we are nothing without God, and it’s by His grace and favour that we will have the strength, knowledge and wisdom that will be needed for any competition. The service on Sunday was a blessing and we were reminded of God’s favour and faithfulness towards us,” Aiken-Pinnock said.
Shooters – Shadine Bartley, Simone Gordon, Amanda Pinkney, and Rebekah Robinson
Centre court – Crystal Plummer, Abigale Sutherland, Adean Thomas, and Quannia Walker
Defenders – Theresa Beckford, Paula-Ann Burton, Abbeygail Linton, and Kimone Shaw