Bajans target Sun Girls
FIRST, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO. Next up, Jamaica?
Barbados’ netball national coach certainly isn’t wasting any time on the job.
Rookie coach Alwyn Babb has his sights on taking down the world No. 4 team on the way to making his side the region’s premier squad by next July’s World Championships in Singapore.
The debutant netball head declared his lofty intentions at the Grantley Adams International Airport yesterday, as the team returned home from Delhi, India, with the bulk of Barbados’ Commonwealth Games contingent.
“We’re going to be working on beating Jamaica,” said an über-confident Babb.
“The aim is to finish higher each time we play, so we’re looking to finish in the top five. [But] we still have some work to do to break into the top four and if we can close the gap on Jamaica, then we would’ve scored a major achievement.”
“When we move toward scoring 70 and 80 goals we will be doing well,” he added.
Despite taking over the reins only earlier this year, Babb led Barbados netball to its highest ever finish at a Commonwealth tournament during these Delhi games as the ultramarine and gold came seventh.
Better yet, the position came at the expense of arch-nemeses Trinidad, who lost to Barbados for the first time since 2004.
And this was after a humbling opening round 81-20 defeat to England followed by a similarly humiliating 97-22 loss to New Zealand.
“The coach had texted me and said we were coming seventh, so I had to have confidence in my coach,” said Barbados Netball Association president Octavia Gibson.
But Babb, more renowned for his prowess in athletics, won’t be satisfied until Barbados end the Sunshine Girls’ reign as the Caribbean’s top side.
And the national coach won’t have long to wait for such an opportunity, with the Bajans set to travel to Kingston for a tri-nation series against the hosts and Trinidad in April.
“One of the things that Norman Plumber, the Australian coach, said to me was, ‘Your team is a good team but the problem is you need to play against these girls more often so you will know what to do when you get in big matches,’” noted Babb.
“So these type of games will serve us well going forward, especially in maintaining and improving our world ranking.”
A top-level athletics coach, Babb came under fire in local netball circles following his highly debated appointment in January to take over an underperforming side.
“I think the results speak for themselves,” said Gibson of Babb’s selection.
“But apart from that, we know that the whole review process for selecting the coach was transparent and the board was satisfied with the recommendation coming from the coaching advisory committee.”