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CNA head displeased with Netball’s lack of progress

CNA head displeased with Netball’s lack of progress

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Long standing President of the Caribbean Netball Association (CNA), Barbadian Kathy Harper-Hall is dissatisfied with the state of affairs of Netball in the region,{{more}} even during the period of her stewardship.

Harper-Hall made that bold assessment last Saturday afternoon at the Arnos Vale Netball Complex, at the Opening Ceremony of the 13th Jean Pierre CNA Under-16 Netball Tournament, which this year was sponsored by the National Lotteries Authority of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“I have presided over a sport that has not shown much progress over the past ten years. Of this, I am not very proud,” Harper-Hall stated.

Citing that the challenges confronting Netball over the years have been varied and many, and despite surviving the rough times, Harper Hall said, “We need to live, perform and excel”.

When asked by SEARCHLIGHT to expand on her comments, Harper-Hall mentioned the standard of play, officiating and coaching, which have all contributed to the fall off of the sport in the region.

Harper-Hall also cited the lack of competition among territories as a contributing factor.

“We are faced with a situation, where the Caribbean Netball Association, we have not had a senior championship since 2006,” the CNA President said.

Caught in a bind, Harper-Hall, in explaining the workings of affiliates’ organizations, said: “The reason for this is that the American Federation for Netball Association, (AFNA), they have to have a qualifier for the World Championships, they also have to have a qualifying tournament for the Commonwealth Games; teams have to travel for the two qualifiers within that period of time, so it is difficult for any country to find two sets of money to go to two sets of tournaments.”

But it does not stop there, according to Harper Hall.

“Where the challenge arises is that enough of the countries are not going to the qualifiers, and there is nothing happening for them. So you set aside the year for a qualifier, then only four or five countries show up, so we have not been able to bring all our teams together in a Caribbean tournament,” Harper-Hall added.

The predicament of the CNA is magnified because there are only the senior and the Under-16 tournaments.

Harper-Hall revealed that plans are afoot to bridge the gap between the tournaments by the hosting of a regional Under-19 tournament.

“All these players who are coming up from the Under-16, it takes a long time for them to filter into a senior national team when there is nothing happening in between, so we are beginning to lose a lot of our players. Therefore, we are in the process of developing an Under-19 tournament, so that when they leave Under-16 they move to Under-19,” Harper Hall reasoned.

She, however, believes with the rising cost of travel and hosting tournaments, the CNA may have to alternate the Under-16 and Under-19 tournaments each year.

“We also have to come up with a way to train more officials, more umpires, more coaches because at the moment we do not have a structured programme. We (CNA) went into an agreement with AFNA over the last ten to twelve years, that we would have joint umpires and coaches committee, but it is not working,” Harper- Hall confessed.

In going forward, Harper- Hall is requesting that those who have benefitted from the sport give back some of their skills and resources to their respective islands.

Harper-Hall has served as the President of the CNA since 1996. She was re-elected for her ninth consecutive two year stint when the CNA held its Elections here last week at the organisation’s Annual General Meeting.

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