Guyana could have a new page in football history written, as the country’s National Football team, the Golden Jaguars, aims to qualify for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. But to reach that summit, they must progress from round three of the Scotiabank Men’s Caribbean Cup.
The Jaguar’s round three opponents are arch rivals Suriname and the intimidating Jamaica Reggae Boyz but Head Coach Jamaal Shabazz in speaking to media operatives before the team’s final practice session at the Leonora stadium, posited that the team’s focus currently is on the country’s Dutch-speaking neighbours and they will be seeking to get the desired result.
“We want to look with courage and confidence going into the game against Suriname and try to get the result we want; we have to accept the situation and do the best for our country, it’s not ideal but its good when you are able to face challenges and overcome them.”, the coach confidently stated.
Though for some time now, the Country’s governing federation would have known of these pending fixtures, preparation only began a few weeks ago but the coach insisted that the lack of preparation cannot be an excuse.
He said ,”While we are not satisfied that we got the best preparation, we have come to understand that life is full of challenges and in football when you get the squad together and the players are united and motivated to play, challenges die a natural death.”
The squad consists of 12 overseas-based players and features two goal keepers, six defenders, eight mid-fielders and four strikers. Some new additions to the squad are USA based winger Cash London who plays for Cal Poly San Luis in California, goalkeeper Andrew Nestor who plays for St. Francis in Brooklyn New York and Anani Mohammed who recently signed with Mexican Second Division team Atalante; Kai McKenzie Lyle, a 6ft 5 goalkeeper who plays for Barnett in the English Division Two and USA born midfielder Warren Creavalle who plays for the Philadelphia Union in the MLS.
Quizzed on the squad’s composition, Shabazz said ““We have a good blend of youth and experience; the fact that we playing to world class opponents, Suriname has been a long time now, a worthy opponents for Guyana and Jamaica is considered the top team in Caribbean football; the surprise pick may be Anthony Abrams, he is 37 but he has played a lot in Suriname so he is a horse for that cause, Quincy Adams, Walter Moore have also had experience playing there”, the head coach explained.
He further stated that “We chose a squad for this trip that we feel is quite capable of getting us a result that we desire, it is a difficult time and we need a crew that could weather the storm”.
In the last four encounters between Guyana and Suriname; the Guyanese have triumphed thrice while drawing once and come Saturday, they will be seeking to make it four wins when play kicks off at 16:30 hrs at the Andre Kamperveen Stadium (Paramaribo).
Three days later the Golden Jaguars will tackle the Reggae Boyz at the Leonora Stadium from 20:00hrs.
The 20-man squad announced to travel to Suriname reads: Goalkeepers – Kai Lyle and Andrew Nestor; Defenders – Jake Newton, Samuel Cox, Quincy Adams, Walter Moore, Adrian Butters, Colin Nelson and Anani Mohammed,; Midfielders – Dwight Peters, Cash London, Brandon Beresford, Trayon Bobb, Christopher Nurse (Captain), Warren Creavelle and Daniel Wilson; Forwards – Anthony Abrams, Vurlon Mills, Pernel Schultz and Marcel Barrington.
The Management and Coaching Staff: Head Coach – Jamal Shabazz, Assistant Coach – Wayne Dover, Goalkeeper Coach – Andre Hazel, Trainer – Anson Ambrose, Physiotherapist – Denzil Hernandez, Equipment Manager – Trevor Burnette and Manager – Rawle Adams.