12 November 2019
| THE HEARTBEAT OF WOMEN'S SPORT

Netball: England captain Ama Agbeze on facing Jamaica

November 29, 2016
ama-agbeze-1

Ahead of England Netball’s three-match series against Jamaica, Roses captain Ama Agbeze spoke to Sportsister about the squad, the Sunshine Girls’ biggest threat and the four-year deal with Sky Sports to broadcast the Vitality Netball International Series and the Vitality Netball Superleague fixtures.

ama-agbeze-1

How has training been going?

The mood is quite high, which is good. We had the day off yesterday so that’s always good for morale. But we’ve been working through things that we needed to work on.

It’s been over a year since you faced Jamaica. Are there still elements from back then that you’ve needed to work on or has more of the focus been on improvements from the inaugural Quad Series in July?

Obviously for ourselves, we look at things from the Quad Series and see what we needed to do better. But we definitely look at footage from the World Cup when we played Jamaica and from January a couple of years ago when we played them just to see what they’re like. They have a different squad now but some of the people are the same and they kind of have a similar style so lots of things don’t change despite the fact that the personnel change.

Jamaica have welcomed back star shooter Jhaniele Fowler-Reid. How big a threat is she to England?

She’s a very big threat – literally and metaphorically! She’s 6ft 6 or 6ft 5. It’s really difficult to get the ball one-on-one from her so it’s about working together defensively through the court to stop the ball getting there. She’s a huge threat and that’s probably the main thing we need to think about.

skysports-england-netball-australia_3817199
Photo credit: Sky Sports

So what is England’s biggest strength then?

I think our biggest strength is probably working together as a team. I think in attack when we work together nicely and read off each other and the timing’s good, it flows beautifully and then our shooters have an opportunity to put a goal in. Whereas it can be a bit staccato when people kind of don’t know the timing of each other and stuff so I think just working together is the key thing we need to do.

What are your personal expectations for the series?

It’s really strange because every time I go in I’m like I want to play well but you need specific targets for the cycle. But I think ball retention so not giving away the ball when I have possession of it and making sure I’m near my player to contest the ball.

As captain, what are your words of advice before the game?

It differs game to game but I fluctuate between having fun and being jovial and being fully serious. I measure the mood of the group and the level of seriousness that I need to bring and decide on what’s best to throw at the girls. So just some fun, some seriousness but actually we want to win so whatever it takes! 

What’s your pre-match routine? Any superstitions?

I think I’m quite boring but I literally do go through the same thing every time so I epilate my legs in the daytime, I go for a walk whether it’s round the shops or just generally in the fresh air and then I shower close to the time, I eat and put my dress on before I get to the venue. Nothing exciting, but I do wear the same knickers though to every game!

How big is this series in gauging England’s development?

I think actually this is probably bigger than the Quad Series, just because Jamaica are chasing our tail always. They’re fourth and we’re third so I think this is the crucial nail-biter. It’s always who’s it going to be – is it us or them? We might win 2-1, they might win 2-1 and so I think if we can just nail this 3-0, it would be really important for our development moving forward aiming for 2019 and the World Cup in Liverpool.

How important is the broadcasting deal with Sky Sports?

I think that’s massive. I think the UK has a real appetite for netball now. In the past two to four years, it’s been growing and growing so I think it’s just brilliant that netball can be out there and I think the more people see it, the more there’s a hunger for it. It’s just great for netball.

Katherine Ratcliffe, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

The Sunshine Girls’ first full tour to England in four years will see the two sides meet in London (Tuesday 29th November, 19:45), Manchester (Friday 2nd December, 19:45) and Coventry (Sunday 4th December, 17:30).

All games will be broadcast on Sky Sports Mix and @England_Netball will also be providing live match updates on Twitter.

Save

Save

Save

Save

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Select a sport

Find out how to get started, training plans and expert advice.