Netball captain to meet team in Calgary
Four days after being replaced in the Barbados netball squad, captain Latonia Blackman left for Calgary, Canada yesterday to join the team competing at the World Championship Qualifiers.
A squad of 11 players left on Saturday morning along with 17-year-old Queen’s College student Vanessa Bobb with manager Vaneisha Cadogan declaring that due a “personal emergency”, Blackman was being replaced by Bobb.
On Monday defender Shonette Bruce arrived in Calgary and mid court player Samantha Browne was also announced as the new captain of the team.
However, yesterday, the drama took another twist when Blackman, who had kept a low profile for the past four days, turned up at the airport ready to fly to Calgary and report for national duty.
According to Blackman, last Friday she realised that she had misplaced her passport and she had informed the Barbados Netball Association of the mishap.
While indicating that she was receiving full support and assistance from the BNA and president Nisha Craigwell, who is in Canada attending an American Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA) meeting, Blackman said that she was forced to leave home and spend time at a relative to escape the nuisance calls while attempting to sort out the matter.
The social media was abuzz from Saturday with all kinds of conspiracy theories and harping back to days when other national players were allegedly “pushed out” of the team.
Bryan Holder, who is a director of the BNA, accompanied Blackman to the airport and ensured that her check-in and departure was smooth.
“Latonia is our national captain and the BNA did everything to ensure that she would get to the Qualifiers to represent Barbados. We contacted the the various entities and I took her to those entities to facilitate Latonia getting a replacement passport and I returned with her this morning to collect the passport.
“It is unfortunate that persons would claim that they are part of netball and that they love netball and yet they would publicly indulge in a lot of half-truths which could destroy our sport,” said Holder.
Being very cautious in her speech, Blackman would not comment on whether she believed that she would regain the captaincy, but the utility player said, “I am ready, willing and eager to represent my country to the best of my ability as I have always done.”
In defence of the BNA’s apparent rush to include Bobb in the team, Craigwell declared that there were too many uncertainties and the BNA had to ensure that a full team was available.
“At the time that Vanessa came we were of the opinion that Latonia would not make it.
“But, I assure you that the team is ready and in high spirits for tonight’s [last night’s] game,” said Craigwell.
Barbados would have met unknown quantity Argentina last night and tonight they will play the United States. Blackman was expected to join the team this morning.