Netball must revisit development strategy

Facilities

Of course the Arnos Vale Complex, home to the competition, lacked the once promised transformation. The pavilion has still not been constructed and during the week the leadership of AFNA and all guests were condemned to sitting on the roadway between the President’s Stand for Cricket and the Netball courts, peeping through the wire fence in order to get a view of the matches being played at any given time.

This all made us look so very bad.

The scenario looked all the worse for being adjacent to the renovated Arnos Vale playing field where we have spent millions in preparation for some warm-up matches (read into that ‘goat cook matches’) for the Cricket World Cup 2007. The contrast between the two facilities can only be considered amazing.

One wonders whether we have to wait on the local Netball fraternity to bid to host a World Tournament before the government gives due consideration to a realistic facility.

Perhaps it was fortuitous that the president of IFNA used the occasion of the AFNA Tournament in St Vincent and the Grenadines to call for Indoor facilities for the sport in the region. Gone are the days of the outdoor asphalt surfaces. The game is now seen as an indoor one and there are specifications in respect of the quality of the surfaces on which it must be played. This is in keeping with the global development strategy.

Once more therefore, in terms of the facilities for the AFNA Tournament, we looked bad, very bad.

Development

Given the growth of African countries in the sport of Netball and the very good showing on the part of some several of the African teams in the last World Championships, the Caribbean countries involved in the sport would do well to revisit their development strategy or run the risk of being marginalised in the sport at the global level.