Cayman’s top netballers are in desperate need of funds.
Representatives from the Cayman Islands Netball Association say the national women’s team needs $40,000 to attend its first overseas competition in years. Association secretary Onicia Mitchell said the side has raised over $20,000 in the past few months.
“Fundraising has been going slowly. The aim is to raise $60,000 to get us there and cover food and accommodation,” Mitchell said. “We’re a third of the way there. We’ve raised about $22,000 so far from fish fries, individual sponsors and raffles, so we’re in dire need of more support.”
Cayman is sending a squad to Calgary, Canada, for the 2014 American Federation of Netball Associations championship. The August tournament serves as a qualifier for the 2015 World Netball Championships in Australia and the top teams earn automatic berths. Cayman is among the association’s member countries in the Americas region. Aside from landing a world championship berth, one of the goals of the Calgary competition is to establish Cayman in the world rankings.
Team tryouts started in January at Camana Bay’s Arts and Recreation Center, attracting such veterans as Cynthia Collington, Katherine Gow and Rosemarie Wilson. The association is slated to announce its final 12-member roster in the coming weeks.
Gow said part of the problem is the lack of support netball has in Cayman.
“In terms of the other focus sports, I think netball can be overlooked,” Gow said. “Historically, you have not had a high level of participation. But we’ve gone from four teams to 14 teams last year (in the national women’s league), so we’re growing in participation. We’re putting netball back on the map. We just need help from anyone who can support netball.”