Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Thursday | March 5, 2009
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Walker confident Jamaica can medal at WYC
Robert Bailey, Gleaner Wrier


New national Under-21 netball coach C. Lloyd Walker said a lot of work needs to be done if the young Sunshine Girls are going to win a medal at this year's World Youth Championships (WYC) which will be held in the Cook Islands in August.

"There is a lot of work to be done in five months and we have to really try and fast-track this programme in time for this championships," Walker said in an interview with The Gleaner.

"I am certain that we can medal at the WYC because we have the girls with the potential who can certainly get the job done," he added.

The Jamaicans finished fourth at the last WYC in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 2005.

Walker is the first male to be appointed coach of a national netball team in Jamaica.

He succeeds Janet Guy, who was asked to resign by Jamaica Netball Association (JNA) President Marva Barnard two weeks ago.

Guy, who had been in charge of the team since 2006, was dismissed after a series of poor performances by the junior Sunshine Girls. It included a 3-0 series loss to the Australia Institute of Sports Under-21 team last July.

Walker, though, expressed surprise at his appointment.

"I was surprised because of the fact that we (himself and Guy) were together as a team and so it came a bit sudden," he said, adding he now has to get the girls focused on playing at the level they need to be at.

Walker has been working with the team as their physical trainer since 2007. He is a lecturer at G.C. Foster College in St Catherine and also the coach of Jetsetters Club. His assistant will be Dacia Barnes, a former senior national representative.

Meanwhile, Bernard said Walker is the right person for the job.

"I think that this (appointment) is a good move because if it wasn't, then we would not have done it. We have a lot of work to do now because we have put in a lot of work in this team since 2007 and we believe that it was the right time to make this move," she said.

"He is very knowledgeable about the sport and he has coached successfully at the youth level because he's also the coach of Jetsetters and Dunoon Technical and also of a number of national players, including Nadine Bryan and another former national representative Andrea Watson while they were in high school."

Bernard noted the door is now open to all persons who qualify and wish to apply for coaching jobs within the JNA, once they are available.

"We are now looking for the best coaches but there is certain level of qualification that they must have and I believe that we have the right to set those qualifications because it doesn't mean that it is only on paper," Bernard said.

Bernard also indicated that the JNA is going to be advertising all coaching vacancies in the future.

"As long as the people come to us with the right qualification that the JNA requires to do the job that we want then we will definitely welcome them," she said.

The JNA has selected a 14-member Under-21 squad to face Australia Under-21 team in a three-Test series in two weeks at the G.C. Foster College, in St Catherine.

The first game will be played on March 16, the second on the 18th and the final match is set for the 20th.

SQUAD: Shooters - Jhaniel Fowler, Christina Solmon, Vanessa Walker, Shaye Walton; Centres - Patricia McCalla, Sateva Taylor, Samantha White, Lassania Mattis Janeel McDonald; Defenders - Malysha Kelly, Sasha-Gaye Lynch, Crystal Gordon, Yanique Gordon, Nicole Dias.

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