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McIntosh returns as netball head

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The Doris McIntosh led executive of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Netball Association was given another term at the helm of netball in the state for the next two years.

Several of the members of the 2003-2005 were given unchallenged nods of approval to continue in their positions as administrators of the sport, at the association’s Annual General Meeting last week Thursday.{{more}}

However, this overwhelming show of confidence should not be taken as a reward for a job well done in their previous two-year term. In fact, it may be far from the case, as the once deep reservoir of committed persons to serve on national associations seems to be almost dry.

The report card of the performance of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Netball Association (SVGNA) over the last few years has shown a steady decline in its performance standards.

The past twelve months showed a single claim to glory. The triumph in the AFNA qualifiers which earned this country its first shot in the Commonwealth Games, was the only thing to shout about. Also in the past year, representative club Sion Hill surrendered the OECS club title, the Under-23 failed to secure the OECS championship, and the Under-16 ended one from the bottom in the Caribbean tournament.

Although qualifying for the high profile Games, preparations have been slipshod. A recent two match tour of Barbados was the highlight thus far. But this tour was on the initiative of the host.

Unlike St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the others who have qualified for the Games have had a structured build up.

While one may want to accept other failings, it is unforgiving that the local netball body knew since at the end of January last year, that the national team was destined for Australia, yet little or nothing was done to adequately prepare the squad.

It will be a miracle for us to pull off a victory at the Commonwealth Games.

The performance of the Under-16 team is symptomatic of a lack of a systematic developmental programme to carry the young netballers through the stages.

Having competitions in every village is not development. The SVGNA’s national championships with its 40-odd teams have proven too much for the body to adequately handle as it lacks the administrative capacity.

Last year, this national tournament realised little revenue at the gate at the Kingstown Netball Center, as public support wandered away from the sport.

The SVGNA will be better served to look critically at the structure of the sport here, and re- model it to suit the times.

Mc Intosh and her executive have the task of reclaiming the status this country had as one of the top netball nations in the region. Her efforts towards getting teams to develop into full fledged clubs must not relent.

This could be the first step in the recovery exercise. Reform on all fronts is critical.

Cohesion among executive members this time around can aid in the transformation, as this was evidently lacking in the immediate past. The netball public, the little that remains, awaits your delivery with infinite scrutiny.