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By Neto Baptiste
The Antigua and Barbuda Volleyball Association (ABVA) released a 13-member squad on Tuesday as it finalized preparations for the Eastern Caribbean Volleyball Association (ECVA) Senior Women’s Championships. from October 13 to 16 in St Maarten.
veteran players Rosemary Simon, Mali Nyota Peters, vanessa burke, Sharon Payne and Joelle Thomas lead selections. Yuderka Martinez, Tyke Hawkins, Rayana Regis, Nashea Browne, Harmony Edwards, Jassania Joseph, Zellene Edwards and Kwansia Carr complete the team.
Coach Benjamin Fitzroy said the team selection proved difficult as the coaching staff sought to bring together the best possible mix of senior and junior players for the top-flight tournament.
“We have about six senior players and all the others were young players from the 24. All the youngsters, they looked promising and we had to look at the process of building the national team, so we don’t really want to have the youngsters excluded from their chances from time to time, they [quit] the sport, so we have to try to keep them in the sport because they show interest and that was the hardest part,” he said.
Antigua and Barbuda will face teams from Saint Eustatius, the British Virgin Islands and Saint Lucia in the group stage, while Dutch hosts Saint Martin, French Saint Martin and Anguilla will face off in the other group over a period of four days before the start of the quarter-final on October 15.
Benjamin expects tough challenges given recent success in the men’s equivalent held here in July.
“All the teams will go out for Antigua because they don’t want Antigua to win the double. Mr. Wilbur Harrigan [president] went to Holland the other day for the FIVB congress and that was told to him at that meeting also by the other countries. The good thing about it is those two days we have when we get there, so the focus would be on what we need to do,” the coach said.
Other management staff are Joseph Olsen (trainer’s assistant), Giselle Azar (manager) and Rawle Lee (arbitrator).
The Antigua and Barbuda side leave on Monday and are set to open their campaign on Wednesday, against St Eustatius, before facing the British Virgin Islands a day later. Antigua and Barbuda will end their group campaign against Saint Lucia on Friday.
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