Marsha Campbell is looking to make the most of a second opportunity to play netball internationally.
Campbell, 42, a member of the Cayman Islands national women’s team, has been in the sport for more than 10 years. She started playing at the primary and high school levels before moving on to the Jamaica Netball Association league. She says making the squad is a form of redemption.
“Words cannot express how happy and excited I am to be a part of the squad. This is a dream come through for me once again,” Campbell said. “I was once given that opportunity within my country of birth. However, I did not seize that opportunity, and hence I would and could not make this one pass.”
The Cayman Islands Netball Association is preparing its top ladies for the 2014 American Federation of Netball Associations Championship Aug. 19 to 29. The Calgary tournament serves as a qualifier for the 2015 World Netball Championships in Australia, with the top teams earning automatic berths. Cayman is among the association’s member countries in the Americas region.
Campbell is one of 13 women on the roster. The others are: Carrie Barnett-Carter, Alexis Carias, Kayon Clarke, Katherine Gow, Nickesha Lynch, Tashena Parks, Nicola Pringle, Karen Smith-James, Keren Watson, Aaliyah Webb, Rosemarie Wilson and Teneisha Wilson. The group has been training since January.
This is the first women’s team Cayman has fielded at an international event in years. While the ladies have significant experience on the local scene, few have competed on the international level. Carias, Webb and Rosemarie Wilson competed for Cayman’s national Under-21 team at the 2013 World Youth Netball Championships in Scotland.
Campbell, listed at 5-feet, 10-inches, plays goal shooter for the Flames Strikers in Cayman’s national women’s league. She says her expectations for Canada are modest.
“I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. I am looking forward to the AFNA competition in Canada as I have not played netball at an international level before. What are my expectations? To execute to the best of my ability what we have been learning, and hopefully come out as one of the top two teams so Cayman can go to the world championship.”
Funding has been an issue for the association, which is short roughly $38,000 for the trip. According to association secretary Onicia Mitchell, a total of $60,000 is needed, and in the past few months, approximately $22,000 has been raised through events such as fish frys.