We won’t underestimate Wales – Connie Francis

July 29, 2022
Sunshine Girls captain Jhaniele Fowler.
Sunshine Girls captain Jhaniele Fowler.

Jamaica's Sunshine Girls will begin their hunt for a medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, when they take on Wales on Friday at 6 a.m. Jamaica time.

Jamaica will be hoping to better their performance at the Games, having won the bronze medal four years ago in Gold Coast, Australia.

The Sunshine Girls, who are ranked fourth in the world, four places above Wales, are coming off a fifth-place finish at the World Cup in Liverpool, England, in 2019.

Head coach Connie Francis said that they will be taking every match in the tournament seriously.

"We are not going to underestimate any team because we know that every team is giving themselves a chance, and so are we," Francis said. "We are just going to take it one quarter at a time and we are going to track each game, every five minutes.

"I am feeling really good because based on what I have seen from the ladies, they are very confident in doing better and I am just hoping that everything will fall into place as we would like."

The Sunshine Girls have assembled a strong 12-member squad for the Championships, which includes six players who play Suncorp Super Netball in Australia.

They are captain Jhaniele Fowler, Shimona Nelson, Jodi-Ann Ward, Shamera Sterling, Latanya Wilson, and Kadie-Ann Dehaney.

The other members of the squad are Shanice Beckford, Adean Thomas, Shadian Hemmings, Nicole Dixon-Rochester, Rebekah Robinson, and Khadijah Williams.

Francis said that they have worked well in their preparations and they all believe that they can go all the way this year.

"The first thing is to make the top four, but I know that the girls are very upbeat about our chances of making it into the final," she said. "What I can tell you is that there is a podium finish there for us and the girls are saying that they are going all the way. I believe them and I am backing them to do it."

Francis describes Wales as a good all-round team.

"I know that we will have to work for it because I know that Wales are not going to lay down and let us roll over them," she said. "We are going out there to play four solid quarters and hopefully, we can put the pieces together and come out victorious."

Meanwhile, many-time national champion Chris Binnie competes in the preliminary round of men's squash at 6 a.m. Jamaica time.

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