Indiscipline, lack of team chemistry help sink Sunshine Girls, claims Nevers

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

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LIVERPOOL, England — With the dust still settling after a turbulent Netball World Cup, Jamaica's Assistant Coach Winston Nevers has pointed to indiscipline as a factor that debilitated the team.

Jamaica, who went into the tournament ranked second in the world, finished fifth.

“The major thing that surprised me over the tournament was the indiscipline of one, or two or three players,” he told the Jamaica Observer, after the Sunshine Girls secured the consolation prize with a 68-50 win over Malawi in the play-off match at M&S Bank Arena on Sunday.

“I won't speak about it now, but when I get to Jamaica I will say it. In our debriefing we'll talk about it and say where we go from here,” Nevers said when pressed for details.

“The chemistry of the team is what let us down [because of] the indiscipline,” he added.

Jamaica started the campaign with expected easy wins over lower-ranked Fiji and Trinidad and Tobago.

A 52-55 defeat to fifth-ranked South Africa meant they had to beat hosts and world number three England to have a realistic shot at a podium finish. They lost 48-56, and though they won four-straight games thereafter, the horse had long left the gate.

They missed reaching the semi-finals for the first time since 1995, and have another four years before they can add to their last World Cup medal — the bronze captured in 2007.

“When we play the first two matches and also the last four matches, we could manage those. But you're talking about South Africa and you're talking about England, and in those small moments there we showed ourselves up and we didn't recover,” Nevers explained.

He noted that the signs of unease were in the air prior to the World Cup, and even before the Manchester-based pre-tournament training camp.

“I know not everyone will just criticise. Some people will want to assess why we didn't beat South Africa in that moment there. There are a lot of people who were around our national training programme who know what was going on.

“This didn't just start from in Manchester, or in Liverpool. It started from Jamaica, so definitely we want to throw away those things, and fix what we have to fix and move on. We are one of the best countries in netball and we want to remain that way.”

When asked about the level of professionalism with the Jamaica squad—which has a blend of local and overseas-based players—and the impact it might have had, Nevers said the Sunshine Girls continue to lag behind countries with professional league structure.

“When I look at Romelda (Aiken), Jhaniele (Fowler) and Shamera (Sterling) and all those players who play in Australia and New Zealand you can see the discipline toward coaches, management and training sessions, and timing to go to matches and to training session. It's very different.

“Yes, they [countries with superior netball infrastructure] have something we don't have and we need to adapt, because it's the professionalism we need in our team, in our leagues, and in our association. The league is not strong enough to really push these players some more so sometimes they have to work on their own to see what they can achieve,” he replied.

According to the assistant coach, there were other factors too.

“The chemistry on the court was on and off, maybe because we were training with short goal shooters throughout the training programme in Jamaica until we got [overseas-based players] Jhaniele and Romelda. Then we started to put things together over here, which was a short time.

“The pool of players that we have, we need more because people believe they are sure to be selected because of the small group of players. We need to search and find players.

“Another thing we need is to have tall players in the midcourt. We have tall shooters and tall defenders but our midcourt is a little bit suspect and it showed in some matches,” Nevers explained.

—Sanjay Myers

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