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Unhappy Barker leads U-16s to Carib tourney
Former national captain Janelle Barker is back as coach of the T&T youth team that will be competing at the Caribbean Netball Association’s Jean Pierre Under-16 Tournament in Barbados from March 31-April 10.
Her transition from player to coach was a rough one as in her coaching debut, the local team placed sixth in the seven-team tournament held last year in Castries, St Lucia. Barbados emerged champion followed by Dominica and Grenada, respectively.
But as devastating as the end result was, Barker is still encouraged despite a number of disadvantages that she is facing presently as she will go it alone on the coaching staff.
“I don’t think the association (T&T Netball Association) knows what is needed for a team to succeed. They have no idea what the kids need to prepare. They have not provided for them. It’s just myself and the manager. No assistant coach, no physiotherapist, no trainer,” said a frustrated Barker yesterday.
The junior team started training in November and Barker said she is doing the best with what she has to work with. Though being in such a difficult position, Barker’s aim is to get them prepared for the competition, named after the renowned international netballer, the late Jean Pierre of T&T, which started in 1998.
“As of now the players are not very motivated. It’s hard for them to be if the staff is not motivated either. Right now I am doing everything that I can do to get the players to where they need to be.
“I am trying to get them fit and mentally ready. The association is falling short. They need psychological training. They are young and to get them ready mentally they need to have someone speak to them. It’s like everytime we make two steps forward, we end up five steps backward.”
T&T has never won the title. The last time T&T finished among the top three was in 2012 when it placed third behind Barbados and St Lucia, respectively. The highest position it has ever reach was second in 2001, 2000 and the inaugural year.
“I am not too happy with the situation but I am trying. It’s better to try and fail than not try at all,” said Barker, who also serve as the national goal-shooter.
The junior squad trains three days a week, 3.30 pm to 6.30 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays and from 8 am to 12 noon Saturday’s and next week, it will start competing in practice matches as the tournament draws closer.
Barker says the final team will be named later this week.
Year Host Champion 2nd 3rd
2015 St Lucia Barbados Dominica Grenada
2014 Antigua/Barbuda Jamaica Barbados SVG
2013 No Tournament
2012 SVG Barbados St Lucia T&T
2011 St Kitts St Lucia Barbados T&T
2010 Barbados Jamaica Barbados T&T
2009 Jamaica Jamaica Barbados T&T
2008 Antigua & Bar Jamaica T&T SVG
2007 No Tournament (World Tournament)
2006 T&T Jamaica Barbados T&T
2005 St Kitts Barbados Jamaica St Kitts
2004 St Lucia Jamaica St Kitts Barbados
2003 No Tournament (World Tournament)
2002 Grenada Jamaica Barbados St Lucia
2001 SVG Jamaica T&T St Lucia
2000 Jamaica Jamaica T&T SVG
1999 Barbados SVG Barbados St Lucia
1998 Antigua/Barbuda Jamaica T&T Barbados