Sunshine Girls call in nearby players to bolster separated squad

September 20, 2022
Jamaica line up for the gold medal match of the Commonwealth Games.

Just when netball fans thought there couldn't be any more drama ahead of this week's series between Jamaica and the Silver Ferns, the Sunshine Girls added another unforeseeable chapter this afternoon.

After arriving yesterday with just seven of their 12-strong squad for the rescheduled two-Test series - the bare minimum required to play a game of netball - Jamaica coach Connie Francis announced this afternoon they were bringing in 38-year-old Carla Borrego as an eighth player for the series.

READ MORE: Jamaica hoping to leave passport horrors behind on arrival in NZ

Borrego, a veteran who played for Jamaica at the 2003 World Cup, is travelling to New Zealand from Australia, after finishing her career there.

"Jamaica Netball and Netball New Zealand worked on finding one player - former national player Carla Borrego," Francis said.

"We're happy to have her and represent us."

Francis added she had hopes two other players from "somewhere" will join the camp ahead of tomorrow night's series opener in Auckland.

The drastic measures come after Francis and her seven players arrived yesterday with hopes the other five members of the playing team would arrive today but those plans were dented when news emerged the quintet still stranded in the US were unable to secure a flight.

"I think we're past the passport issue but it's other logistics keeping them back home," Francis said.

"I'm just happy the girls that are here will be able to play."

It's the latest twist in a peculiar rivals tale that started with last month's 67-51 semi-final win by the Sunshine Girls over the Silver Ferns at the Commonwealth Games.

The Taini Jamison Trophy was set to be their first clash since that contest, although Jamaica was slow to announce their squad and eventually named one that only featured three players who won silver in Birmingham.

Whintey Souness is contested for the ball by Jamaica.

Things then got stranger with news the series opener, originally scheduled for last Saturday, had to be postponed due to passport issues with the Jamaican contingent in the US before those travel delays eventually saw the two matches in Hamilton cancelled and the series reduced to two back-to-back Tests in Auckland starting tomorrow night.

Netball NZ CEO Jennie Wyllie told 1News there has been a "massive amount of work" behind the scenes to save what is left of the series which was originally billed as a key piece of the team's build up to next year's World Cup defence.

"It's not an ideal scenario," Wyllie said.

"The Silver Ferns are second ranked in the world and with that comes mana and they want the best and test themselves against the best.

"Injury is a big thing, travel is a big thing but we can only control what we influence so we just need to put our heads down."


More Stories