Coach of the Barbados Under-16 netball team, Julie Phillips, is very optimistic that her charges will make the country proud by retaining the Caribbean Association Jean Pierre U16 Netball Championship in Antigua next week.
“We are very confident that our team will do well. It is a young team and so far preparation has been going pretty good. The only senior person returning from the 2012 team is senior player Shaniqua Thomas who made the Barbados team back in 2012 when she was just
11-years-old and now a few years later she is the captain,” Phillips said.
Barbados won the title in 2012 but were unable to defend it because there was no tournament in 2013. However, an eager 12-member team will be leaving Barbados for St John’s on Friday where the tournament is scheduled to take place from April 6 to 12.
The coach said: “We do expect lots of competition and everybody would be Barbados’ main rival because the game is played on the day. If we are to look at the other islands and their national program, I would have to say our biggest contenders may be Jamaica. But like I said the match is played on the day and we are not counting out anybody.
“What we did was that a number of the girls who were reserves which includes vice-captain Shonte Seale, they were able to go down to St Vincent and the Grenadines where the last tournament was held in 2012 and observe the tournament and they know what standard is expected.”
As to the team’s strengths and weaknesses, Phillips told Barbados TODAY there were a few areas of concerns but they had worked very hard on them.
“We have been training three days a week since January to tighten up any loose ends and like I said before the girls are confident, they are eager and we will go out there and put on a good showing.”
There are 11 teams slated to compete in the tournament and the Barbados team will begin their quest against Grenada in their opening game.
Squad: Captain Shaniqua Thomas, vice-captain Shonte Seale, Shakeilla Smith, Zakia Kirton, Tricia Phillips, Alyssa Bynoe, Gabriella Headley, Jamie Drayton, Keyla Harewood, Rebecca White, Niara Forde and Amanda Knight. The reserves are Shadika Phillips, Brianna Holder and Ashley Holder. Manager is Tracey Leacock and the physiotherapist is Alicia Brewster.