The Golden Jaguars, Guyana’s Senior National Men’s football team, departed Guyana yesterday, optimistic of a successful World Cup Qualifier campaign as they kick off their Russia 2018 aspiration against rivals St Vincent and the Grenadines on Wednesday June 10 in Kingstown.
Kick off time is 3:30 pm at the Arnos Vale Stadium and the Jaguars will return on Thursday to prepare for their June 14 home game at the Guyana National Stadium.
The last time the two sides met was at the 2012 Caribbean Championship where the Jaguars lost 2 – 1 with Gregory ‘Jackie Chan’ Richardson scoring the lone goal.
However, this time around, once again under the watchful eyes of Head Coach Jamaal Shabazz, Guyana will look to emulate or even better their previous showing at the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers.
In a change to previous qualification tournaments, CONCACAF decided that the first three rounds will be played as knockout rounds, with both the fourth and final round (referred to as ‘The Hexagonal’) played as group stages.
Of the team that played in the 2014 qualifier that reached the penultimate round, Christopher Nurse, Ricky Shakes, goalkeeper Derrick Carter, Vurlon Mills, Collin Nelson, Trayon Bobb, Walter Moore, Jamaal Smith and Dwaine Jacobs are the only returning players with Shabazz crafting a younger side.
Earning their first International Cap are Leicester’s Marcel Barrington and Boreham Wood FC defender Sam Cox while Neil Danns (Bolton Wanderers) and former Fulham FC and Millwall Defender Matthew Briggs will have their taste of playing for Guyana at the World Cup Qualifiers after debuting on March 29 against Grenada.
Shabazz will turn to Akel Clarke who had a clean sheet in the two International friendlies played at home and long serving custodian Derrick Carter between the uprights.
Ricky Shakes, who haven’t featured for the Jaguars since their 2014 World Cup Qualification, has made a return to the line-up.
Shakes made his debut for Guyana in a 2–0 away win against Barbados on October 7, 2011, before scoring his first goal four days later in a 1–1 draw with Bermuda.
Shakes’ third international appearance came in the 2–1 victory over Trinidad and Tobago on the infamous 11.11.11 at the Guyana National Stadium which sealed Guyana’s qualification to the third round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Shabazz, prior to the team’s departure at the Ogle International Airport said that the squad will be heading into the game tomorrow with only a positive result on their minds. (GFF)