A five member national executive has been elected to serve a two year term for the new St. Kitts-Nevis Netball Association, (SKNNA). The team is headed by Jeanette Grell-Hull who has had many years of experience both as a player and administrator in Nevis. She will be ably assisted by her Vice President- Lavern Collins, (St. Kitts), Secretary-Rahmona Casey, (St. Kitts), Treasurer-Vera Herbert, (Nevis), and Public Relations Officer-Steven Duggins, (St. Kitts).
While pledging their commitment to the overall development of Netball in the Federation the executive also sounded a call for the support of the sport loving public.
There was a previous association that remained in-active for almost seven years and both current executives of the local island associations in St. Kitts and Nevis, said they recognized the need for the merging of the two independent bodies. Public Relations Officer, Duggins explained that the move was necessary because the international netball bodies, such as the Americas Federation of Netball Associations, (AFNA), refuse to deal with either the St. Kitts Netball Association or the Nevis Netball Association.
The PRO said the international bodies are saying St. Kitts and Nevis is one country and they insist that there was a need for a federal entity.
“They are saying it is one federation and they will only interact or deal directly with a federal association. And this was one of the impetus for getting this (the SKNNA) up and running again.), stated Duggins.
When asked what he thought were some of the advantages of creating a national body, the PRO said, “For one, I think we could get the best of both islands in terms of players and have a better representative team for regional and international competitions. Secondly, with the fact that we now only have opportunities for the U23 and U16 teams, because once you are over 23 there is nothing for you to look forward to as a matured player, (in terms of competition). So we think if we could get back that association (SKNNA), we would have matured teams in both St. Kitts and also Nevis.”
Duggins said they have already commenced plans for a senior independence competition and are eyeing friendly matches with other Caribbean countries.
He said financially, it would also be easier to have joint teams to host and to travel overseas for competition. “Though a number of Caribbean competitions allow the two islands to field separate teams, (especially in other sports), the hope of SKNNA is to move away from that and have one representative squad. We want to strengthen our federal team and are already looking at participating in the Commonwealth Games, four years from now. And this is one of our major targets once the new association is settled.”
He said the merger will also be good for attracting sponsorship, recognizing that we (St. Kitts) have lost our long standing sponsor after so many years. So we are hoping that we would be able to show some more responsibility and professionalism to attract new sponsors in the future.