Calypso Girls Head coach Young-Strong targets rise in ranking among Netball World Cup objectives

By July 22, 2023
Calypso Girls Head coach Joel Young-Strong Calypso Girls Head coach Joel Young-Strong

Trinidad and Tobago, like every other team at the Vitality Netball World Cup, have big ambitions.

Though achieving those are easier said than done, particularly where winning the title is concerned, Head coach Joel “Twiggy” Young-Strong, has every confidence that her team will perform with much gusto and prove competitive throughout the tournament in Cape Town, South Africa.

The twin island republic, currently ranked at 10 in the world, is grouped in Pool D alongside Uganda, Singapore, and defending champions New Zealand.

"We have taken a clinical approach for each match, carefully tracking their performances in the lead up to the World Cup, while ensuring the team is building momentum towards the opening clash against New Zealand," Young-Strong told SportsMax.tv.

"Our realistic goals are to improve our rankings and to minimize goal difference, as well as to increase our goals against each of these teams per quarter. We would also like to capture the audience with our rhythmic style and flare, hence the reason why we are called the Calypso Girls," she added.

While they may be small in stature, when compared to the top ranked teams, it should be noted that Trinidad and Tobago is one of only three teams to have lifted the Netball World Cup trophy in the tournament’s 60-year history.

The other two are of course powerhouses Australia and New Zealand. 

Trinidad and Tobago boast this unique distinction, having shared the title with Australia and New Zealand in 1979. Back then the tournament was played over two round-robin group stages with no play-offs, and after the three nations all finished with eight wins and one loss, they were declared joint winners.

They also placed second and third at the 1983 and 1987 editions and though they have lost competitive shape to some extent, that legacy still lives on in the Caribbean team.

In fact, Young-Strong, a former international umpire, pointed out that her team has drawn inspiration from those teams of the past, especially with one member of the championship winning team Peggy Castanada, still involved on the coaching side.

"It is an Honor to be counted amongst the great. It is always a feeling of nostalgia and what we will use to inspires our Calypso Girls to work towards and continue the journey for greatness. I believe that it (winning the title again) is not out of our reach, but we have to start from the ground up and build different and strong foundations," the coach noted.

Despite losing Samantha Wallace to injury, Young-Strong revealed that things are gradually falling into place in terms of readiness, with the likes of Afeisha Noel, Shaquanda Green-Noel and Daystar Swift, among others, expected to carry the fight.

"The preparation has been a challenge. Moreso with the absence of Samantha Wallace due to her injury. Nevertheless, the team continues to build capacity with a blend of experienced and young talent. They have settled down quite nicely coping and adjusting as we go along and the preparation is ongoing, so we are expecting them to give of their best when game time comes," she ended.

The Calypso Girls plays the opening match of the tournament against New Zealand on July 28 with a clash against Singapore the following day before they come up against Uganda on July 30.

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

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