By Iva Wharton
Caribbean Netball associations will soon be petitioning the Caribbean Netball Association (CBA) and the International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA) to stage an alternative tournament to the world championships.
This was disclosed by Guyana’s representative to a meeting of netball clubs in Antigua Shanomae Pearce-Baptiste.
The alternative tournament would only cater to teams that fail to qualify for the World championships, Pearce-Baptiste who is the secretary of the Guyana Netball Association (GNA) said.
According to Pearce-Baptiste, the meeting was convened in an effort to find a solution that will benefit the many regional countries where the sport is played on a smaller scale.
Other countries represented at that meeting were St. Lucia, Anguilla and St Kitts/Nevis.
A lack of finance was stated as reasons why some Caribbean associations are unable to field teams or even prepare teams for the qualifiers.
It was said that such teams would not stand a ghost of a chance against the more established and better prepared teams like Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados.
According to Pearce-Baptiste, the fear among the smaller associations in the Caribbean is that they will lose players if they are not able to offer them regular tournaments at an international level.
She said that herself and the other representatives are hopeful that they will receive a favourable response from both the CBA and IFNA.
Pearce-Baptiste said that IFNA has a meeting scheduled for December 3 in Miami, Florida which will be used as a forum for the associations to make their petition.
She suggested that by the end of December they should have a response on the way forward.
Should the suggestion not be accepted then countries would just have to stick with the inter-country tournaments and because of financial constraints many may not be in a position to compete in more than one inter-country tournament, she reasoned.
Guyana only competes in one such tournament and that is against Barbados.
For many years, the GNA has been unable to attract any major sponsorship that will allow it to successfully prepare a national team and also expand its programme to attract new people to the sport, said Pearce-Baptiste.
However, the GNA recently signed a $750,000 deal with Digicel which will give the GNA the opportunity to expand its programmes, including taking the sport to schools, said Baptiste Pearce.
Currently the Digicel-sponsored Open club tournament is in progress.