Jamaica participated with a team that focused on rebuilding. There were as many as five players who were under 21 years, a sure sign of a clear development strategy.
Throughout the Tournament Jamaica performed like a demolition team. None of the competing teams provided any real challenge and the Tournament suffered as a result. The team’s results tell an awful story. They defeated Canada, 69-17, St Vincent and the Grenadines, 58-21, St Lucia, 54-21, Trinidad and Tobago, 53-32 and Barbados, 52-35.
Jamaica is among the top four teams in the world and seems set to retain that positing for some time to come. Of concern to us all must be the extensive gap between Jamaica and the rest of the AFNA region.
Perhaps the IFNA, in seeking to hasten the development process in Africa may well have been guilty of assuming that AFNA countries possessed the capacity to raise their game without the same type of assistance.
The recently concluded AFNA Tournament has proven that the Caribbean, Jamaica apart, appear headed to the doldrums. Trinidad and Tobago, once considered the best team in the Caribbean, having once tied for the world title (1979), has long since fallen away. Barbados has climbed in the past few years and the evidence is reflected in their having attained the best performance against Jamaica in the AFNA Tournament. But even that performance is not something they would want to shout about.
In respect of our own St Vincent and the Grenadines team, the local patrons were delightfully generous.
Throughout the competition it was evident that the Vincentian team was not at all well prepared. As host, one would have expected a significantly higher level of preparation. That was not the case.
The loss to St Lucia in the final game on an evening when the finals between Trinidad and Tobago and Caribbean champions, Jamaica, was scheduled, was perhaps the unkindest cut of all. The Vincentians were clearly struggling, having to come back from one deficit after another, much to the chagrin of all in attendance.
We looked bad, very bad.