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"Heartbreaking" was the favoured word sports officials used to describe Dominica's two most recent defeats in netball and football during the past week.

After nearly a week of play, host country Dominica suffered a terrible loss at the second edition of the OECS/ECCB International Netball Series held at the Windsor Park Sports Stadium. To make matters worse, during that same week, Dominica again lost its two football matches of The Confederation of North, Central America, and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Women's Qualifiers in Guyana.

According to the sport's official who spoke to the Sun on the usual condition of anonymity, he predicts Dominica suffering the same fate in many more matches unless significant changes are made to the ways players train for these tournaments.

"Take for instance the netball tournament, the court was only set up a few days before the games, which meant that for the longest time the players had to practice outside of that area," the official said. "For football, I know of instances before major matches our payers have to practice on the Dublanc Playing Field or other smaller playing field whereas the Stadium is there and they are not granted permission. So it's no surprise that time and time again our players go out there and they are embarrassed simply because they are not fully prepared to take on the other players who train in much better facilities and have the proper resources."

Another area of improvement that he also highlighted was the need for players to receive proper compensation when representing the island, which he says, will attract more "qualified and energetic youths to sports."

"When we look at the recent netball tournament, there is nothing wrong with the older folks being out on the court, representing the country, but as we saw, these folks couldn't keep up or didn't have the stamina as the other teams who I must point out, several of their players were quite younger," he said. "But unless we make the games attractive, which would also include properly compensating the players for their time off from work, for the training, for them to invest in proper gears, we will never see the results we desire."

According to the official, our players are on an uneven playing field when compared to many other countries and will remain that way if these and many more changes are not implemented.

At the end of the six-day second OECS-ECCB International Netball Series which ran from 12-18 February, St Vincent and the Grenadines captured the 2022 championship title, bringing home the Gloria Ballantyne Championship Trophy.

Host country Dominica ended their campaign with only one win, as they got past St Kitts and Nevis on the final day of the tournament.

The overall results were: St Vincent and the Grenadines crowned champions, with St Lucia second, Antigua third, Dominica coming in at fourth, and St Kitts and Nevis fifth.

Barbados who also participated in the tournament as an invitational team won all 5 of their matches to top the standings with 25 points.

Football

Over in Guyana, Dominica suffered a 4-nil defeat to Guyana on Wednesday evening in their first match. The Dominica team was on the back foot from the start of the game as the home team came out firing on all cylinders.

By the end of the first half, Dominica had conceded three goals. However, Dominica had a much better second half despite conceding a fourth goal.

Two young talents, Alianne George and China Tulloch, made their international debuts as members of the Dominica team.

While the team had a much better showing in their final match on Sunday, they still went down to Trinidad and Tobago 2-0.

Albert Titre, Coach of the National Women's Team, said he was extremely proud of the showing from the young ladies.

Alianne George was also the bright spark for Dominica, causing some problems for TT on the left flank.


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