FIFA World Cup Qualifying tournament…Keen competition anticipated as ‘Golden Jaguars’ go after El Salvador tonight
Following their fiercely fought 2-2 stalemate again El Salvador in the latter country’s backyard last Friday night, the ‘Golden Jaguars’, Guyana’s premiere football team, will attempt to solidify their standings in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers when it oppose that Spanish team in the return encounter at the National Stadium, Providence tonight.
The foreign team arrived in Guyana Saturday evening last and their representatives were present at a press conference at the Princess Hotel International, Providence yesterday afternoon to brief the media of particulars of tonight’s encounter. Their coach, Juan de dios Castillo oozed confidence even as he promised to turn in a great performance. He said that he had made minimal changes to the team that had played in the home match, while reiterating that all systems are in place for an improved performance.
Coach of the Golden Jaguars, Trinidadian Jamal Shabazz, was more outright than his Spanish counterpart, “We are an ambitious team and we have a lot to play for; it’s important that we destroy El Salvador,” he exhorted when asked of his prediction for tonight’s game. Mr. Shabazz said that while in El Salvador the local team was well treated. He said that though the level of fair play was superb, the two teams were engaged in fierce rivalry. He anticipated a similar scenario tonight and urged all Guyanese with even an iota of patriotism and nationalism to come out in support of the local players.
Mr. Shabazz remains adamant that the ‘12th man,’ the Guyanese supporters is an extremely vital component to the team’s performance and he enforced this point by underlining the massive demonstration of support of the El Salvadorian fans for their team in the just concluded match.
Meanwhile, representatives of the corporate community that have been a pivotal force behind the local team’s efforts were also at the forum and pledged continued support.
Sales Executive (Georgetown and Suriname) of Caribbean Airlines, Dion Inniss, said that his company is extremely delighted to support the local ball weavers in their quest to attain World Cup honours. He said that the two entities have enjoyed fruitful relations over the years and he anticipated a stauncher union as the footballers pile up the victories. Mr. Inniss further wished the team all the best and urged the players to play hard and win tonight’s match.
Chief Executive Officer of Ansa McAl, Beverley Harper also exuded confidence in the local players. She said that the current championships coincided with the 20th anniversary of her organization and she was anticipating a great game. DDL Marketing Executive, Alexis Crawford said that her company places sports high on its agenda and top executives are indeed delighted to be a part of the team’s efforts at attaining World Cup honours. She echoed the lamentations of Mr. Shabazz saying that the corporate community has done its part and it is now time for the supporters to emulate their act.
Earlier, President (ag) of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), Franklyn Wilson officially welcomed the visitors to Guyana. He acknowledged the warm welcome and superb hospitality offered by the Spanish team when the locals played there last week and promised them similar treatment. Mr. Wilson said that the first match was indeed a fiercely fought duel and he anticipated a repeat performance tonight.
He further hinted of an improved level of play by the locals since they would be enjoying the home advantage. Mr. Wilson also acknowledged the input of Mr. Shabazz who has literally transformed the ‘Jaguars’ to a raging, determined bunch.
Tonight’s activities get underway at 20:00hrs sharp and the price of admission remains at $3000. Mr. Wilson explained that the organizers had initially advertised a special package for children twelve years and under but were forced to renege on this promise through circumstances beyond their control.