NETBALL Jamaica (NJ) high-performance Coach Rob Wright says he was very impressed with the Sunshine Girls’ performance at the just-concluded Americas World Cup qualifiers, adding that the future of the country’s netball is in good hands.
The Sunshine Girls, rated third in the world, have already qualified for next year’s Netball World Cup by virtue of their ranking, but used the tournament as part of their developmental programme.
Captain Jhaniele Fowler was the only member of the squad at the Americas Netball tournament who featured on the Sunshine Girls’ silver medal-winning team at the Commonwealth Games in August.
The Jamaican squad, which was a mixture of Under-21 and Under-23 players, was dominant throughout the tournament, winning each of the eight games by an average 25 goals. The Australian-born Wright said that the youthful Sunshine Girls showed a lot of maturity during the tournament.
Jamaica’s Quannia Walker (left) and opposing centre Oprah Douglas of Trinidad and Tobago vie for the ball during the Americas Netball World Cup Qualifiers at National Indoor Sport Centre on Saturday. (Photo: Collin Reid)
“I am really proud of what they have done during this tournament because they are a young side and they have shown themselves to be able match it with the very best in the Caribbean and I think it really holds us in good stead beyond 2023 — which is really important,” said Wright.
“I think there are some really super talents that is going to show themselves on the world stage probably sooner than later and we saw them getting better and better during the week, which is really important,” he said.
“I was really pleased to see from the start to the end them getting better and better so that is exciting for us in the future,” he said.
He pointed that out a lot of top teams around the world have been focusing on improving the depth of their squad over the last few years and therefore the Sunshine Girls have shown in this tournament that they also have a lot depth on which they can build.
“I think we’ve got to continue to build our depth because we look at the very best teams in world and they have got real depth and it something that we know that we have to build upon, and this is a really good start for us,” the high-performance coach said.
“We are not going to stop here because we are going to keep lifting the bar and keep raising it because we want to be the best team in the world, but we are not there yet,” he expressed.
Wright also pointed out that Jamaicans were very disciplined throughout the tournament, and this was reflected in their performance on court because they were heads and shoulders above the other teams at the championships.
“They were really responsive, really respectful, and I think they have been a real pleasure to work with,” he said.
“I think you can see from their improvements that they are taking on, and that is a massive credit to them because at the end of the day they are the ones that have to get out and do it. And they have done it and I am really pleased, and hopefully I can continue to work with them,” Wright said.