St. John’s Antigua- The second vice president of Antigua & Barbuda Netball Association (ABNA), Olena Knight, who has been charged with the responsibility of co-ordinating competitions being hosted by the body, has hailed the recently held Knockout competition a success.
The competition which featured a total of eight teams competing in two divisions ended on Tuesday night at YMCA Sports Complex with the female category being captured by Pacesetters and the Mixed Division taken by National Security.
According to the former national player, however, more teams were ready to take part in the contest but dropped out due to a one-week delay in order to accommodate the travel of the national Under-16s to St Vincent where they competed in the Jean Pierre Under-16 tournament.
“The girls have been waiting a number of years to play netball and now they got the opportunity I think it’s a great improvement towards the netball in general,” she said.
“Eight teams really took part in the knockout but there are much more teams there that did not come out for the knockout all because of the lapse for the Under-16 team travel because we had more teams in the round robin games than we had, so I am hoping that when the league starts on May 14 that we will have much more clubs taking part.”
The only dark spot, according to Knight, is the lack of sufficient lighting at YMCA where all matches will be played. She added, however, that the executive is working towards getting the situation rectified.
“Most of the players, they are complaining about the lights; but then there is nothing that the players or myself can do. The president (Fitz Braithwaite) said that he spoke to the Prime Minister and I think they are dealing with getting some lights from APUA so that’s where we stand at the moment. Last night we drafted a letter so that we could get some of the floodlights at Public Works just to start off, but we are in the process of getting to Mr Luther Lee to do some renovations on the lights,” she said.
Asked if she thought the competitions leading into the league which is slated to shoot off on May 14, has served to spike the interest of other teams and players, Knight answered in the affirmative, saying that the association has made it easy for teams to get involved.
“Once the players get themselves together because what we did, we not only asked them to come out and play, but we fit them in teams. But we even lowered the fee and we said, right across the board, each team or club would just pay $150 just to register and the registration closes on the 12th of this same month,” she said.
Meanwhile, Knight revealed that a number of Under-23 players would assemble at YMCA this afternoon to engage in a number of playoff matches as they select a national team for the 2012 Under-23 tournament slated for Grenada in July.
The team is being coached by former national players Shenneth Samuel and Cleopatra James, while Daphnie Simmons will manage the squad. (By Neto Baptiste)