Jamaica coach completes roster for Silver Ferns’ series

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Jamaica’s coach will complete the roster for the series against the Silver Ferns starting tonight in an effort to make the games count as official Tests.

Romelda Aiken during the Fast5 Netball Grand Final match between New Zealand Silver Ferns and Jamaica at Hisense Arena Melbourne Australia. Sunday 28th October 2018. Copyright Photo. Brendon Ratnayake / www.photosport.nz
Photo: Brendon Ratnayake / www.photosport.nz

Coach Connie Francis will be named as player/coach on the team-sheet for the two Test Taini Jamison series.

Francis, who is in her 50’s, last played for Jamaica in 2003 having made her international debut in 1985.

Seven members of the Jamaican netball team arrived in New Zealand on Monday for the series.

But as a result of ongoing visa issues five members of the team have not been able to join their team-mates, putting the series with the Silver Ferns into disarray.

The three Test series already had to be postponed and reduced to two tests.

Former Jamaican international Carla Borrego has joined the Sunshine Girls for the Cadbury Netball Series.

The former Adelaide Thunderbird, who played in the trans-Tasman league from 2009-2016, was part of the Jamaican team which won bronze at the 2003 Netball World Cup.

Borrego took time off her job as a nurse at Adelaide Hospital to help her former team out.

Jamaican coach Connie Francis. 2010.

Jamaica netball coach Connie Francis.
Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Francis wasn’t sure how much netball the 38-year-old had played recently.

She will be joined by shooter Romelda Aiken-George to complete a roster of 10 – which is the minimum requirement for the series to be counted as ranking games.

The Australian based Aiken-George gave birth to her first child in early August. She was still playing in Australia’s top domestic league last year.

President of Netball Jamaica, Tricia Robinson said the situation was not desirable and said she understood the disappointment of the fans.

“But we believe that we must honour our obligations …the Coaches and the players and are on board to give of their best, even if they have to play without reserves,” Robinson said.

In a Facebook post this morning Netball Jamaica wrote “We would like to express our sincerest apology to our fans, sponsors, Netball New Zealand and all our other stakeholders for the delay with this series.”

“We’d also like to extend our deepest gratitude to Netball New Zealand for your support extended during the process. It is greatly appreciated,” the post read.

Jamaica thrashed the Silver Ferns at the recent Commonwealth Games, where the Sunshine Girls came away with a historic silver medal.

Only three players from that side were named for the series against the Silver Ferns.

-RNZ

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