THE TT Netball Association (TTNA) is calling on the government to make the Jean Pierre Complex the home for netball locally.
Dr Patricia Butcher, President of TTNA, said her organisation has observed football (Ato Boldon Stadium), tennis (National Racquet Centre) and cycling (National Cycling Centre) being given facilities to play international matches as well as house their administrative body. She said the Jean Pierre Complex should become the home of netball in TT as it was always intended to be.
“This facility is named after the prolific netballer Jean Pierre and it needs to be refurbished and re- dedicated to sport of netball,” she said.
She explained the TTNA had an office in the Complex previously but after an episode of flooding over a year ago, it became uninhabitable. She said there have been discussions about using the Maloney Indoor Facility but she is adamant that they be able to utilise the Jean Pierre Complex.
“We want to be in Port of Spain. Netball is a predominantly female sport and with all the things going on in the country today, we would like a place our girls can access easily and is safe for them to practice and operate. The office (currently) is not up to the standard we would like. We have one office space with a room at the back for storage; there is an area that can be used as a conference room but that has not been given to us so when we have to hold meetings we have to ask permission and it is not ideal,” she said.
Dr Butcher’s remarks came during the opening ceremony of the San Fernando Netball League on Saturday at the Southern Indoor Sports Arena in Pleasantville. The netball boss explained the TTNA’s pathway to development of netball is from primary school to tertiary level. She said the association is also focused on the development of coaches, umpires, trainers and administrators who should be encouraged to pursue courses and certification to ensure international standards of excellence are met.
Butcher said the national Under-16 team recently returned from the Caribbean Netball Association, (CNA) Jean Pierre tournament where they performed creditably.
The senior national netball team is currently in training as they prepare to participate in the World Cup qualifiers in Barbados from August 24 to September 22. Two teams will qualify for the World Cup which will be held in Liverpool, England in 2019.
Dr Butcher revealed the TTNA will be putting a team together to plan celebrations next year to commemorate the 40th anniversary of this country winning the World Cup.
Dr Butcher said netball is the only team sport that has won a World Cup title for TT which must be respected. “We are confident we can repeat this feat in the future, but we need the Ministry of Sport to pay attention to our current challenges,”
She congratulated the San Fernando Netball League organisers, officials and teams for a fantastic march past event and urged stakeholders to support the sport.
“We all know what sport can do for our country, and this is why we will continue to call on our government to use more financial resources to contribute to the development of our youths who have been so blessed with sporting talent.”
Minister of Sport Shamfa Cudjoe was absent from the opening but was represented by Director of Physical Education, Patrice Charles.