Coach Ann Browne-John tells of her relief March 8, 2005

Last minute cash boost for West Indies women

Cricinfo staff

West Indies women have finally secured the financial funding needed to participate in the World Cup - just two weeks before the tournament kicks off on March 22. After months in the grip of a cash crisis, the team now have enough money to compete in South Africa as three separate parties finally came to their aid. Several governments in the Caribbean, corporate sponsors and a CONCAF official stepped in to help West Indies, although they are still short of their budgeted total.

Nevertheless, the funds available will be enough for them to compete in the tournament. As West Indies' coach Ann Browne--John told BBC Sport: "We are still short, we didn't come up on our total amount but at least we will get there, it may not be with all the trimmings but we'll get there!"

Financial concerns had impinged on the players' preparations, leading to sleepless nights. "It really was a very terrible situation," Browne-John recalled. "We were hanging in there right down to the end, we told ourselves sponsors would come on board at some time but we never expected it to take that long."

She had, however, remained in optimistic mood throughout, and has a similarly bright outlook on West Indies' chances at the World Cup, their first since 1997 after failing to qualify in for the tournament in New Zealand in 2000. "We have a nice mix of youth and experience with three players who have been to the World Cup before," she said.