Sport Minister, The Honourable Olivia “Babsy” Grange has committed $12 million in financial support to the Sunshine Girls and their governing association, Netball Jamaica, as they prepare for next year’s Netball World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa.
Grange indicated that the ministry will cover an array of expenses for the national netball team. She was speaking at the launch of Americas Netball World Cup Qualifiers held at the NCB Wellness and Recreation Centre on Thursday, May 19. The $12 million represents a considerable outlay which the Minister says will cover three of the unavoidable costs associated with their World Cup journey.
“[From] my discussions, I found out the team will require about 1.8 million for preparations. Consider it done,” said Grange, who was named official patron of the competition.
She continued, “I know that you will need 2.5 million to transport the teams. Consider it done. I know that you’re going to need the venue, and that is big money. So today I’m committing to covering those expenses and a little bit extra – as a start.”
As part of her address as the special guest speaker, Minister Grange painted the picture of the situation for the underfunded association.
She said, “I know very well the challenges that Netball Jamaica has faced, and continues to face, in relation to financial support. Netball Jamaica knows that I can always be relied on to bat for them; but the truth is they require much more support. So, I’m making a special appeal for others to come onboard.”
Since the start of the year, Netball Jamaica has accumulated a number of sponsors and partners to aid in their preparations for and guaranteed participation (being ranked fourth in the world secured Jamaica automatic qualification) in what will be the first Netball World Cup held on the African continent. This historic first African staging is a parallel of Jamaica’s position being first time hosts of the region’s World Cup Qualifiers set for October later this year. The approximate budget for the staging of the Qualifiers is $31 million JMD.
The Local Organizing Committee for the competition has accumulated most of Netball Jamaica’s long-time sponsors to partner with the event as well. The sponsors include Budget Car Rental, General Accident, Gilbert, JPS, Main Event, NCB, Proven, SDF, Sportsmax, Stewarts Automotive Group, Tru Shake and Wata.
The Qualifiers will take place between October 15-22 later this year and will involve eight countries, namely, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and the USA. Jamaica, who has already qualified, will be joined by the two best performing teams for the World Cup in South Africa set for July 28 to August 6, 2023.