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Duncan on a La Soufriere journey


The elevation of former national netballer Dellarice Duncan to the post of President of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Netball Association completes a personal ambition.{{more}}

For some, her elevation is neither here nor there, as it is just a change of face and a reshuffling of the pack.

Last week Thursday’s Biennial General Meeting, though, exemplified where we are with Netball, as for the second successive election, there was almost total nonchalance about the business of Netball.

The fact that most of the officers were installed unopposed, mainly because of a lack of interest by others in the administration of the sport at the national level, sends the strong message that we have pedalled backwards fast.

Additionally, with only fifteen affiliates seeing it fit to be part of the process makes a mockery of the over thirty outfits which participate in the annual National Club Tournament.

Therefore, Duncan is taking over the headship of Netball at a time when netball has continued to slide downwards, not only in the returns at regional and international tournaments, but in the general standard of play, attendance at matches, and the general popularity of the sport.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines is no longer a regional power house in Netball, and languishes outside the Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados circle.

Duncan, having distinguished herself on the Netball and Basketball courts with much aplomb, brings to bear on the administration of Netball her innate trait of humility.

Fortunately, soon after her election to the post, Duncan revealed that it has always been her ambition to lead the association, which should translate that she would give it her all, as she possesses that built in passion to bring to the sport.

For those who found a male heading a predominantly female sport offensive and out of place, they will once again throw their efforts in tandem with the current Executive now that a female is back at the helm.

But Netball needs more than the acumen, the poise and the experiences of Duncan and her team to extricate the sport out of its quick sand of declining standards on all fronts.

Over the years, everyone seems to talk about the past, relive the glory days, bash the current set up, yet decisive actions to address the situation are elusive.

Many have neglected the cradle, Primary School Netball, to the point where it is almost obscured into insignificance.

That annual competition basically happens for happening sake; as there is no structured guidance in having the budding netballers develop into players seeking to master the craft.

While the Department of Physical Education and Sports sends out persons to assist with the training, many are not adept in passing on the proper techniques to the aspiring players, many of whom have the enthusiasm and the willingness to learn.

The time may have come for the Duncan led Executive to take a handle on the unearthing of new talent and lead the charge by seeking out players who show some level of proficiency and knowledge of the sport.

Gone are the days when Netball was all the pre teens and teenaged girls wanted to play. Therefore, the sport has to be taken to them in a manner to which they will gravitate and readily accept as a worthy past time.

With the mindset of the modern day generation, Netball does not bring with it the glamour, the prestige and the local heroism as some of the other sporting disciplines do.

Also, our local netballers, the best that we have, are not national icons who are revered, making the resurgence of Netball to hold pride of place on the sporting landscape, doubly difficult.

Also of urgent attention is the structure of the national club tournament, which is simply an exhibition of quantity and little quality.

In getting her wishes, Duncan must adopt a cautious approach towards her mission of trying to restore some pride in Netball.

Key to her success is listening to the right persons and seeking help where she and her Executive are lacking.

The journey to any destination begins with the first step. These steps are long, winding and arduous, so Duncan as President of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Netball Association should embark on that mission, clothing herself with the knapsack of self belief and will.