Fri | Jun 5, 2020

Connie in control - Elated Francis ready for Sunshine Girls challenge after signing four-year deal as head coach

Published:Thursday | October 17, 2019 | 12:13 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Francis
Francis

Veteran local coach Connie Francis says she is delighted to be reappointed head coach of the Sunshine Girls and is looking forward to the challenge of moving the team forward from their recent disappointments.

The vastly experienced Francis, who led Jamaica to the FAST5 Netball World Series silver medal in New Zealand in 2017, would be returning for her second stint as the Sunshine Girls head coach.

Francis, who represented Waulgrovians during her playing career, also led the Sunshine Girls to a bronze medal at the World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2007. However, since then, the Jamaicans have failed to win a medal at the three World Championships that followed.

“It is a challenging task, but I feel elated to know that once more, I can be trusted to work with the national team,” said Francis.

The Sunshine Girls, who are ranked fourth in the world, performed very poorly at this year’s Netball World Cup (NWC) in Liverpool, England, as they finished a disappointed fifth in the tournament.

In fact, the Jamaicans also missed the semi-finals of the championships for the first time since 1995.

PREPARATIONS FOR ENGLAND

The Sunshine Girls are set to face host England, world champions New Zealand, and South Africa in the Quad Series in January.

The tough-talking tactician, who has signed a four-year contract with Netball Jamaica, underlined that she would be doing her best to ensure that the Jamaicans do well in the upcoming series.

“It is a task that requires everybody to be on board to get us ready for England come January,” said Francis. “I think we still have a good squad, and we have some new players also to look at, and so it just didn’t happen for us at the World Championships, and so we just have to find a way to turn things around.

“I think that the time is so short to prepare a team to play against England, New Zealand, and South Africa, and so it will be very challenging, but it is one that I am very upbeat about,” Francis said.

Francis pointed out that the Sunshine Girls have got over their disappointment from this year’s NWC, and they are now looking forward to their upcoming assignment in England.

“I can tell you that the girls are very excited that they have another opportunity to go back into England and show that they are world-class players,” she said. “[The] short-term plan is, hopefully, we can do well in England, and the long-term plan is to ensure that we make the final at the Commonwealth Games and at the World Championships.”

robert.bailey@gleanerjm.com