Girls ready to shine - Allison-McCracken
SUNSHINE Girls senior-team coach Jermaine Allison-McCracken said Jamaica should not have played Barbados in a three-Test series earlier this year. However, she is now more confident heading into next month's Caribbean Championships since overseas-based players have returned to bolster the squad.
Jhaniele Fowler-Reid and Malysha Kelly, who played in New Zealand and Australia's top leagues this season, returned to the national team this week.
Also returning to the Sunshine Girls set-up are Vangelee Williams, Vanessa Walker and Shantal Slater, who played in England's top netball competition this season. Veteran player Paula Thompson also returned to the Sunshine Girls squad after missing the Barbados series this year.
Allison-McCracken, who was appointed in April, came for a lot criticism after the Sunshine Girls 1-1 draw in a three-Test series against Barbados on home soil in May. The team included five members of Jamaica's Under-21 team.
Allison-McCracken had suspended three senior players on the eve of the series for what she deemed "inappropriate behaviour".
Allison-McCracken told STAR Sports that with the arrival of the overseas-based players, she was very confident ahead of next month's championships in St Lucia.
"I am feeling a lot more confident than I did before Barbados. I can tell you that because they are working well. I got the players that I need going into this tournament," she said
"For me, I think I should not have done Barbados (series) because our full squad wasn't here. They used their senior players, they know their staff and they were much more competent and professional in their output," she said.
Allison-McCracken said the team has been training well and the girls improving their fitness and skills.
"These players that we have are very skilled, they are very confident and know each other very well," she said. "They also have experience because they have been playing in these other countries at top level, at high pressure, with the TV cameras. All of that stuff that goes on at these international competitions, so they are used that pressure, she added.
"We have played the male team the last three weeks and we have beaten them every time, so it is much better than it was before," she noted.