New BNA chief calls for unity
OWEN ARTHUR seems to have company.
Apparently there’s more than one newly elected leader calling for healing in the ranks.
First-time Barbados Netball Association president Juanita Cordle hopes her recent ascension signals the end of the more than decade-long disunity plaguing the sport.
In a candid interview with NATIONSPORT, the one-time vice-president and former national player said the move to have harmony among all of the clubs was the real reason she contested the presidency last month.
“The present board is looking at opening all communication links. We’re not going to close anyone out and we will accept criticism and ideas from people and try to mould them into what plans we have for the two-year term,” said Cordle.
“Back in 2008, there was a lot of disunity within the Barbados Netball Association. . . We had vice-presidents resigning from the board, and I called a meeting of the concerned clubs [and] I got a lot of support there.
“[But] it is not so much about my presidency as it is about the board. We need to stop thinking of an individual, because if my board is not strong it doesn’t matter what I do. We need to come together and work as a team.”
Cordle was making reference to the special general meeting called by the clubs in July 2008 to address the way the game was being administered under Octavia Gibson.
There were also concerns surrounding the sudden resignations of then head of selectors Maureen Bourne and board directors Nisha Cummins and Denise Alleyne.
However, nothing much seems to have changed on the unison front, as Cordle is already facing serious fallout from her victory.
Long-serving treasurer Daisy Browne and secretary Alicia Jemmott withdrew their nominations on Cordle’s elevation, despite running unopposed, leaving both posts vacant. This followed the resignation of senior head coach Alwyn Babb, who said that as vice-president Cordle never supported his appointment in 2010.
“In canvassing, the word out there was there would be some fallout along the way depending on who became president, so it was no surprise,” said Cordle of the shock resignations.
She said that her rocky relationship with Babb came about when she was serving as the national team coordinator, as she felt marginalised in the role as “middleman” between the board and the senior team management.
“I tried working with the team but somehow along the way it seemed as though I was pushed on the wayside. I was not given the opportunity to get very close to the senior team,” explained the one-time Rangers player. “I tried on numerous occasions to have meetings with the senior management, as is the case with any national team coordinator, but I was never, ever given the opportunity to have a meeting.”
But Babb’s abrupt resignation could serve as a major dent in Cordle’s plans to elevate the senior team to top-tier status, as the squad still finds itself without a head coach ahead of July’s World Championships in Singapore.
“It was never the board’s position to actually go out there and look for a coach, but if need be we will have to do it. However, we’re awaiting word from the coaching advisory committee,” Cordle disclosed.
The president doesn’t intend to let the fallout set her back though, stating that the board is discussing measures to bring excitement to the upcoming league season in hopes of attracting sponsorship and more fan support.
“We’re still toying around with some ideas because before we can actually put it out there we need to go back to the general membership to get their feedback,” Cordle revealed.
“In case there isn’t one major sponsor as in previous years, we’re hoping that at least we can gain some sponsorship per division and have the companies come on board, because obviously the premier sport for women in Barbados [is netball].
“We’re hoping they come out and support, seeing that we’re the highest-rated world-ranked team in Barbados,” she added.
Cordle also stated that the special general meeting to elect a secretary and treasurer would take place on Thursday at the National Stadium Lounge, starting at 6 p.m.