Discarded Sunshine Girls feel disrespected by Netball Jamaica

By October 23, 2019

Jamaica’s discarded Sunshine Girls said they feel disrespected by Netball Jamaica over the decision not to select them from an upcoming quadrangular series to take place in England in January 2020.

The players said they would not be thrown out like used rags because they have served their country well. They also feel that this action by Netball Jamaica is down to the team’s performance at the Netball World Cup in July where the team finished a disappointing fifth having gone into the tournament ranked second in the world.

The Jamaica Gleaner reported recently that Netball Jamaica has opted not to select some of the best players in the world like Jhanielle Fowler-Reid, Khadijah Williams, Shamera Sterling, Shanice Beckford, Adean Thomas and Jodi-Ann Ward after they failed to turn up for mandatory training sessions set by Netball Jamaica.

Veteran player Vangelee Williams is taking the year off while Romelda Aiken is not available because of injury.

The situation represents a rocky start for newly appointed head coach Connie Francis, who has taken over coaching duties from Marvette Anderson and Winston Nevers, who were reportedly fired after the team failed to qualify for the semi-finals of the Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England in July.

The players said they now feel like they are being targeted.

“There has yet to be a proper discussion with the entire team coming out of the world championship,” said mid-court player Khadijah Williams in a post on Facebook.

“Yes, we know everyone is disappointed with our performance at the last World Cup as are we, but the way Netball Jamaica has gone about this situation is very disrespectful to us as players who have done nothing but give of our best for the country.

“We received an e-mail to inform us that we are now retired and there is currently no Sunshine Girls after none of us has stated in words or on paper that we wish to not continue playing.

And, with that disrespect to say that we come to the trials or else that’s it, added an even greater insult. We all don't play for money, we play for the love of the sport and for the past four years we have been taking disrespect after disrespect and it has gotten to a point where we will not take anymore.”

The current situation stems from an email Netball Jamaica sent to players on September 19, stating that trials for the quad series would be held on September 28 for players from Kingston, St. Andrew and St. Catherine.

Players from all other parishes should turn up on October 5.

Veteran defender Vangelee Williams said the players were taken by surprise by this new system of selection.

“This trial for the long squad is very new to us,” she said in a Facebook post in response to a poster accusing the players of displaying ‘attitudes’ that resulted in their poor play at the World Cup.

“Nothing was communicated that changes are going to be made and this is how it will go from now on.”

The players received another email on October 1 that said:

“This is the final opportunity for all former Sunshine Girls to make the squad. With the exception of the players who are currently off the island, you are all required to attend this final training session.”

 “We received an email that trials will be on the 5th of October and we are to attend. So I asked ‘do the current sunshine girls need to be at this trial?’ I got a response stating that there are no current Sunshine Girls so, yes, I’d like to think so if you’re interested’.”

Williams said the players were incensed.

“We did not say we are resigning - we did no such thing. Because we felt used and disrespected we did not turn up to that trial on the 5th.”

Another email followed which only fuelled the players’ anger.

“We get got another email that explicitly said ‘that this is the last chance for the former Sunshine Girls to turn up to trial in order to make The Long Squad,” Vangalee said.

“Of course, this riled up us some more. So, because we are former (players) we decided to not go to trial. It’s clear what their agenda was so we made it easier for them.

“We the players are not used rags! You can’t throw us out like we did nothing for the country!”

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

Related items

  • Lawrence working overtime to be ready for Anderlecht debut Lawrence working overtime to be ready for Anderlecht debut

    Jamaica international Kemar Lawrence has insisted he is working hard to be ready when called upon for new Belgian Premier League club Anderlecht.

    The 27-year-old defender recently completed a move to the European club from United States MLS team New York Red Bull.  Lawrence made 118 appearances for the New York franchise in five years.  With the move away from the club coming ahead of the start of the new MLS season, the right-back has admitted he is a little short on match fitness.

    “The guys are already midway or past midway the season so it’s already business time.  For me right now it’s about getting fit and being ready to play,” Lawrence told members of the media at his unveiling.

    Lawrence qualifies to play this weekend against  Mechelen but is not yet sure he is ready to make an appearance.

    “As it relates to fitness, I’m coming off a long offseason about 2 months offseason, so match fitness I’m not up to that standard yet but I should be soon.  The guys are pushing each and every day, I am about a week in, so about next week or a week and a half I should be up to 90 minutes match fitness,” Lawrence said.

    “So far though the guys are being smart because you know when a player is coming back from offseason you can’t just rush him into a game because that is risking injury.”

     

  • 'Coach convinced me to stay retired' - sprint king Bolt once harboured thoughts of comeback 'Coach convinced me to stay retired' - sprint king Bolt once harboured thoughts of comeback

    Retired Jamaica sprint legend Usain Bolt admits to missing the sport of athletics and once mulled the idea of coming out of retirement but was convinced he had made the right decision by his former coach Glen Mills.

    Bolt, considered in many arenas as the greatest sprinter of all time, amassed stellar achievements in a career that lasted well over a decade.  In addition to holding the world record over both the 100m and 200m sprints, the Jamaican claimed 8 Olympic gold and 11 World Championship medals.

    His soaring career might, however, be said to have ended on somewhat of a low after finishing third at the 2017 World Championships and failing to finish in the 4x100m relay. 

     "I talked to my track coach," Bolt told CNN Sport's Coy Wire. "And he was like, 'No, you're not doing it. People that retire and come back -- it doesn't always work out.'

    The sprinter, who suffers from scoliosis of the spine, was quick to admit that he also did not miss the grueling training needed to compete at the highest level.

    "For me, at the end I knew it was time because the drive wasn't there. But every time I watch track and field I miss it. And every time I go to the track to see my coach and I watch him training I go, 'Did I make the right decision?' ... But every time I train with them I think, 'Ah yeah I made the right decision. I don't miss this.'"

  • Reggae Boyz keeper Blake gearing up for big year Reggae Boyz keeper Blake gearing up for big year

    Jamaica Reggae Boyz shot-stopper and captain Andre Blake insists he is looking forward to what is expected to be a big year for both his club and national teams.

    The 29-year-old goalkeeper made the MLS All-Star roster in 2016 and again in 2019.  By the numbers, however, Blake had a less than impressive season between the sticks.  The Union gave up 57 goals last year in all competitions. 

    Blake didn’t have a clean sheet in the team’s last 13 games of the season and only had six for the team all year.  His goals-against average rose from 1.5 in 2018 (57 goals allowed in 38 games) to 1.64 in 2019 (46 in 28).

    With the Union, however, a part of the Jamaican's struggles might have to do with a tweak in the team’s gameplay, which is expected to adjust this season particularly with the addition of new personnel.

    Internationally the player’s national team has made the CONCACAF Hexagonal round for the first time since the 2014 cycle and could be in line for a second appearance at the FIFA World Cup.  The Reggae Boyz finished runners-up on two occasions and then semi-finalists in the last three editions of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

    “There’s a lot of soccer to play for club and country, there’s going to be a lot on the line,” Blake told the Inquirer

    “I have to make sure I do everything to be ready, to stay sharp, to stay fit. I’m definitely looking forward to a big year, to do whatever it takes in the net when I’m with club and country to be successful and to help my team be successful,” he added.

     

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.