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Top netgirls set off on pro contracts

Friday, October 28, 2016
United Kingdom bound netballer Kaliya McCollin, who was signed with Celtics Dragons in Cardiff, Wales, left, shares a photo-call with Afeisha Noel of Severn Stars, also in the UK, and Samantha Wallace Australia-based New South Wales (NSW) Swifts at Wednesday’s media conference held at UTT ahead of their respective departures. PHOTO: SEAN NERO

Three of this country’s national netballers will take up professional contracts across two continents. They are University of T&T (UTT) goal attack Kaliya Mc Collin, 21, goal shooter Afeisha Noel, 30, of Fire Services and Samantha Wallace also of UTT.

McCollin was signed by United Kingdom-based (UK) Celtics Dragons in Cardiff, Wales, while Noel secured her spot with Severn Stars, also in the UK.  Wallace, no stranger to the UK circuit, having played with Mavericks, will head for greener pastures with Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) Swifts.

McCollin is scheduled to leave today in preparation for the season which begins in January, while Noel will follow on Tuesday and Wallace, 14 days later.

At a media conference held at the training room at the John Donaldson Creativity Campus of UTT on Wrightson Road,  on Wednesday, the netballers expressed delight about the opportunity to ply their craft internationally.

An excited Mc Collin said: “I am anticipating the competition, because for me this is the ultimate goal for a netballer: to get out there and play professionally in Australia or in England. I think my turning point was my transition from the Commonwealth Games 2014. I think that was my year to grow... gather all the experience that I could.” 

She continued, “The team (Celtics Dragons) reminds me a lot of my home team, Soul City. They seem well knit and that is what I am used to with Soul City. We are very close. We are like a family. The team wears the same green as Soul City.” 

This is Noel’s maiden contract and she is eager to display the talent that abounds in T&T. “I am going out there to experience more, because I know there is a lot more I could grasp and bring back. I really want to pursue coaching, starting off from primary school to secondary school. I know that I could bring back a positive vibe to the younger children, so they could approach the senior level,” she said.  

Commenting on the state of the sport locally Noel hoped the opportunities that were afforded to her and her teammates would reignite positives. “A lot of people are so discouraged. I guess when the youth see us going out there and see there are a lot of opportunities, that would bring back positive vibes,” said Noel.

McCollin and Noel laughed when asked about the prospect of facing each other on opposing teams, citing they had become well-knit during their tour of duty nationally.

“A clash of the titans,” was how McCollin described it, laughing. She predicted that in such a scenario, it would be a good clash of teams that would make the match very exciting.

Unlike McCollin and Wallace who were signed to established brands, Noel was signed to a new team and despite the talent enlisted, believed that once settled,  she would prove her worth.

Wallace, the more experienced, expressed delight about the opportunity being afforded to her teammates and assured she would be cheering them every step of the way.

Drawing from her own experience, she warned that based on the talent on the court, they would not be favourites in an environment that competitive.

Wallace went on to explain her decision to switch teams, leagues and continents. “The level of netball in Australia is higher than in England, so that is why I am moving forward–to better myself. When I did my speech at Mavericks’ dinner I told them my goal was to go to Australia and they laughed. They said no! I had to come back to Mavericks. It was not an emotional choice.”


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