Preparation hit by lack of match practice, says Francis

first_imgKINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC) – Newly-appointed Sunshine Girls head coach, Connie Francis, has expressed concern about the lack of international match practice ahead of next month’s Nations Cup in England.The veteran coach said the squad, yet to be announced, had been training well but the lack of actual court time had been the obvious flaw in the side’s preparation.“It’s a challenging task because the other countries have already been in match mode and we are in preparation mode,” Francis told the Gleaner newspaper here.“But, I am quite confident that they will do their best because they have been doing their best in training.”She added: “They have been improving, but our only shortcoming is that we have not gotten any international matches. But we have been practising against a male team and it is work in progress.”The Sunshine Girls will clash with the top-ranked likes of world champions New Zealand, England and South Africa in the tournament which runs from January 19 to 26 in Nottingham, Birmingham and London.They open their campaign against South Africa at Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham on January 19 before taking on the Silver Ferns in Birmingham three days later.Jamaica face England in their final game on January 25 at the Copper Box Arena in London.The outing will be the country’s first since their disappointing campaign at the World Cup last July also in England when they finished fifth.Francis, who was appointed head coach last October after Netball Jamaica sacked Marvette Anderson in the wake of the World Cup results, said her side was in a race against time to get fully prepared for the competition.Of importance, she pointed out, were improving fitness level and working on tactical approaches.“Our fitness has to improve and our fitness trainer has been working tirelessly with them,” Francis explained.“Exams are out of the way now and so they can be at training more often because the exams were really drawback for us and so now we can work on our tactical plays.”“We will be going up against three good teams and I have to do all the video analyses ahead of the series.”She added: “I have been encouraging them to look at the games that these teams have been playing and I’m certain I will come up with my plans to see how best we can go up against them.”last_img read more