Coach Francis grateful to be honoured
"I am humbled and grateful," was how former Sunshine Girls coach Connie Francis felt after being honoured at yesterday's staging of the CB UWI 5K Run/Walk at the University of the West Indies.
Francis was this year's special honouree and was awarded after guiding Jamaica to the bronze medal at the Netball World Cup earlier this year in South Africa. It was the second time she was achieving the feat as a coach, after also copping the bronze at the 2007 edition.
She was also at the helm at the Commonwealth Games last year when the Sunshine Girls mined the silver medal and believes the recognition by the CB UWI 5K Run/Walk will be memorable.
"I feel very blessed because all my life I see myself giving for my country, not expecting anything, so when I got this accolade, I was surprised," said Francis, who also represented the country in the sport as a player.
"I am happy for the people around me over the years, especially former player Janet Johnson, former (Netball Jamaica) president Molly Rhone and my family.
"As a player, Janet was my captain for the national team, and I understudied her because of how she dissected the games, as her playing style was exceptional. Also, Rhone, as she was the one who sent me to Australia to do a coaching course in the game," said Francis.
She also lauded her workplace, Seprod, which supported her national sojourns.
Meanwhile, Francis praised Jamaica's fifth-place finish at the recent Fast5 World Series in New Zealand. She was not the coach.
"I think the team did well. Fast5 is hard to predict as it is what happened at the moment," she said.
"For Jamaica to do well in this kind of competition, we need to play it at the grassroots level, as we need to establish Fast 5 League. Powerplay is critical in this format, and a team has to know when to use their Powerplay," she opined.
She will be seeking to further develop as a coach.
"I am looking to the next level to expand as a coach. I think I can make a big contribution wherever I go. It is still in the working stage as I really want to make a big impact in the sport I love very much," she said.