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'If heads are to roll, so be it,' says Head Coach Anderson

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

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LIVERPOOL, England — The Jamaican netball delegation set sail for home yesterday with uncertainty surrounding the future of the technical staff, after the team flopped catastrophically at the 2019 World Cup, only hanging onto fifth place.

From mid-tournament there has been plenty of chatter pinging around the fate of Head Coach Marvette Anderson and her assistant Winston Nevers.

Both have publicly welcomed a tournament review, which could help Netball Jamaica plot the way forward.

Anderson, who was co-coach alongside former Sunshine Girls player Sasher-Gaye Henry when Jamaica won bronze at last year's Commonwealth Games in Australia, reiterated her position recently.

“If heads are to roll, so be it,” she said after Sunday's 68-50 beating of Malawi that gave the world number two-ranked Sunshine Girls scant consolation, after they began the campaign among the medal favourites.

“We just have to go and sit back — not just look at one aspect, not just look at two aspects. We have to look at netball as an overall thing if we want to compete with some of the best.

“We are going to have to change some things. We can't just sit down and wait because other teams are coming up, they are doing what it takes. If we continue to stay where we are and not start to [assess] netball in its entirety then we are going to be in trouble,” she told journalists.

In some quarters it is believed that Nevers is likely to be offered the head coach job, at the very minimum in an interim capacity.

But the highly thought-of local-based coach, told the Jamaica Observer he was unsure he will remain part of the senior national technical set-up.

“I really don't know at this time. I'll have to think about it. I have to sit down with family and friends and think about it. I really feel disappointed to know that I'm with the national programme for the first time at a world tournament and the team went back way under my watch,” he explained.

“I'm going to make a decision in another two weeks. Right now, I just want to relax a little and assess why this team performed this poorly. And that's if the netball association hasn't decided it as yet, because the president came out and said changes are going to be made. So maybe Winston Nevers is there, maybe Marvette Anderson is there, so we don't know,” Nevers continued.

The Sunshine Girls' finish was their worst since 1995 when they were also fifth. Jamaica's last medal at the World Cup was the bronze they won in 2007.

The coaches conceded being disheartened that Jamaica finished outside the top four, but were encouraged by their reaction after they were eliminated.

“We decided we were going to take it [fifth place] with both hands. We are proud persons. We were going to work hard for that fifth place,” Anderson said.

“We [people] are going to have expectations, [but] it does not mean that those expectations are going to be met. It's what we do after not getting those expectations that is important. We need to pick ourselves up and brush ourselves off,” she added.

Nevers said: “Ending on a high note lifted my spirit, but overall I don't think we represented the country 100 per cent because of various reasons. We just want to have our debriefing and move on. They [the players] feel it [disappointed] to know they weren't in the semi-finals, but their body language suggested they didn't want Malawi to beat them.”

New Zealand pipped number one-ranked Australia for the title, while hosts England were third and surprise package South Africa placed fourth.

—Sanjay Myers


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