Eyes on the prize: Sunshine Girls coach Francis anticipates solid showing against T&T heading into business end of W'Cup

By August 01, 2023
Sunshine Girls Head coach Connie Francis. Sunshine Girls Head coach Connie Francis.

After a day of much-needed rest and recovery, Sunshine Girls Head coach Connie Francis is anticipating another solid performance from her team at the Vitality Netball World Cup, when they take on Caribbean rivals Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday.

The number four-ranked Jamaicans, who have won all four games contested so far at the tournament in Cape Town, South Africa, will be seeking to make it five-in-five, but the number 10-ranked Calypso Girls is not expected to make it easy.

Francis is very much aware of that given their history, so though her Sunshine Girls are enjoying a rich vein of form at present, she is taking steps to guard against complacency.

Jamaica’s most recent victory was a 61-49 scoreline against Uganda, while Trinidad and Tobago will be trying to bounce back from a 28-69 defeat to host South Africa.

The game is scheduled to begin at 9:00am Jamaica time.

“We are still on the right path of going for gold, the coaching staff has been rotating some players to ensure that when the big game comes around, we are able to get the job done. We are more than capable of putting on a good show when it comes to rest and recovery and as I always say, different combination gives you different games, so it was really good to get a day for them to unwind and come again,” Francis told Sportsmax.tv.

With the Jamaicans determined to break a lengthy medal-less drought at the tournament dating back to 2007 when the won the last of their three bronze medals, Francis pointed out that they will also be using tomorrow’s contest to fine tune aspects of their game, ahead of the top of the pool clash with reigning champions New Zealand.

“Our defence continues to hunt balls which is good, so going forward against Trinidad we will have a different combination and then possibly rotate some of our starters in that game just to keep them as fresh as we possibly can so the mind and the body will be aware that we still need to play, especially as we look forward to that game against New Zealand,” Francis said.

“We know they play a very structured type of game, their defensive line up and their attacking line up are both good, but we are confident that all of our players are more than capable of counteracting what they have. So, our focus is really on these games based on how we attack and our all-round defensive effort. We are already playing at a high percentage rate, so we just need to keep that up and really give ourselves a chance for that gold,” she added.

Victory against Trinidad and Tobago will assure the Sunshine Girls of a semi-final spot and by all indications, they will have number one-ranked Australia or number-three ranked England to contend with at that stage.

This is another reason why Francis stressed the need to stay locked in from the start of each game going forward, if they are to reach their ultimate goal.

“When you put fresh legs and fresh combinations in, it kind of keeps the consistency going, so it's important to get other players on court competing, not just seven or eight players.  So going up against Trinidad we are confident but not overconfident, as we are focused on our possession game and taking care of the ball.

“So, we are going to send in a combination with some new players, not everybody will play, but it is an opponent to give more players longer playing time on court because we want it to be a case that any combination, we put out there, will be successful,” Francis ended.

Sherdon Cowan

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

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