An Anika La Roche-led national netball team focus today will be on unranked Guyana as they open the Americas Federation of Netball Associations (AFNA) Championships. The Jean Pierre Complex in Mucurapo will come alive as the Calypso Girls seek to send back teams from eight countries in hope of defending its AFNA title. Coach Jennifer Frank and her assistant Althea McCollin have worked fervously for the past few months preparing the local team to also battle against Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada, USA, Bermuda, St Lucia, Canada The Jamaicans are currently the highest-ranked team in the competition with T&T next in eighth spot. Barbados and St Lucia are the only other teams in the top 20 rankings in ninth and 15th, respectively. Canada is ranked 25th. The local outfit will be equipped with three-time Sportwoman of the Year nominee (2005, 2007, 2011), defender Crystal George, top shooter Anastasia Wilson and an experienced centre-court with Rhonda-John-Davis and Tricia Liverpool.
Both George and Wilson have played professionally in England are expected to lead T&T to the AFNA crown which they won back in 2010 in St Lucia. Manager Vanessa Forde yesterday assured last minute that the players have the right mindset heading into their opening match against the Guyanese. Last night, in the first formal event of the AFNA tournament, the nine teams gathered together for the traditional Candle Lighting ceremony and welcome dinner at Cascadia Hotel and Conference Centre. The day’s activities will begin with the traditional parade of the teams at 4 pm, followed by the opening ceremony then the local netballers will take to court one to meet the Guyanese to start the action. Fifteen minutes later on court two, Grenada challenges the USA, then Barbados faces off against Bermuda on court three at 6.45 pm. At the completion of the T&T/Guyana match, the Sunshine Girls of Jamaica play St Lucia at 6.45 pm.
Shooters: Janelle Barker, Anastascia Wilson, Jellene Richarsdson, Joelisa Cooper
Centre court: Tricia Liverpool, Rhonda John-Davis, Onella Jack, Candice Guerrero
Defences: Crystal Ann George, Alicia Liverpool, Anika La Roche, Kimfer Phillip
Staff: Jennifer Frank (coach), Althea McCollin (assistant coach), Vanessa Forde (manager), Wayne Samuel (trainer), Kern Cromwell (primary care)
Parade of Teams & Opening Ceremony, 4 pm
Court 1: T&T vs Guyana, 5.30 pm;
Court 2: Grenada vs USA, 5.45 pm
Court 3: Barbados vs Bermuda, 6 pm
Court 1 St Lucia vs Jamaica, 6.45 pm
Court 1: Guyana vs St Lucia, 4 pm
Court 2: USA vs Barbados, 4.15 pm
Court 3: T&T vs Canada, 4.30 pm
Court 1: Jamaica vs Grenada, 5.15 pm