Oct 14, 2011 Sports
Head Coach of the ‘Golden Jaguars’ Jamaal Shabazz met with several players at various levels in the English Leagues with a view of playing for Guyana. The meeting was arranged by English born Guyanese football live wire Faizal Khan.
Speaking after the meeting which included Carl Cort, brother of Leon Cort who represented Guyana in its last two FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 qualifiers against Barbados which Guyana won 2-0 and Bermuda, a game that drew 1-1, Shabazz said: “Faizal has done a wonderful job of identifying these lads all of whom have Guyanese parentage. It gives us an opportunity to muster a squad with more depth. I have had to be honest with the guys when they asked about facilities and equipment but they are up for the challenge.”
Shabazz has been a great motivator when it comes to encouraging the overseas based players to come and play for Guyana despite the many challenges faced with having modern training facilities.
This time around it has been no different with Shabazz and the Technical staff doing their utmost to keep the team focused on the big picture and on the theme: “Keep Focus as We Strive Forward with Courage and Confidence.”
Shabazz leaves London today for Trinidad and Tobago and is expected to return to Guyana next week to start arrangements for the camp ahead of the all important games against the Twin Island Republic’s Soca Warriors on November 11 at the Guyana National Stadium Providence and the return game in T&T on November 15.
‘Golden Jaguars’ Coach Wayne ‘Wiggy’ Dover who returned to Guyana yesterday along with the local based players after their two road games against Barbados and Bermuda also commented on the meeting in England and the value of having the players represent Guyana: “I feel that having these players is a big plus for the Guyana Football federation programme. They have brought a lot of energy and professionalism to the team which has impacted positively on our progress to date.
The local based players have been learning from these guys and we have a good thing going, the approach and environment has been very good.”
Dover expressed delight at the commitment that has been shown by the overseas based players towards helping Guyana.
This is the first time in Guyana’s history that she has won three consecutive World Cup Qualifying matches and is on the verge of qualifying for stage-three of the CONCACAF Qualifying competition.
Guyana is the only country in Group B which also includes Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Bermuda that is unbeaten after four matches sitting at the top of the points table with 10 followed by T&T one point back. Bermuda has 4 while Barbados is without a point.
Reflecting on their two games on the road, Dover stated that they were both tough encounters but he was impressed with the way the team approached them.
“Playing away is always a difficult proposition but our guys stood up and represented their country very well. Both Barbados and Bermuda kept coming at us but we had the discipline to defend in a compact manner and when we got our opportunity to return the favor we made use of our chances.”
While complimenting the team, Dover made mention of the sterling contributions of UK based Leon ‘Mr. Calm’ Cort and the elder statesman Charles ‘Lily’ Pollard. Pollard and long time colleague Howard Lowe were once known as the ‘Twin Towers’ playing in the T&T Pro Leagues and for Guyana and Dover believes that Cort and Pollard can also be named the Twin Towers given their collective performances so far for ‘Golden Jaguars’.
“These two guys have been phenomenal at the back, Cort has gelled in very well so far and they are doing a good job for their country. The Newton brothers, Jake and Howard, Captain Christopher Nurse, Alinani Mounter and Ricky Shakes have all been doing their bit and contributing to the overall success of the team.”
Looking ahead to the T&T encounters, Dover said that the games will not be easy by any stretch of the imagination but that his ‘Golden Jaguars’ will win the group.
“We will certainly not underestimate any team but we are going to be positive in approaching these matches. I would like to make a call for all Guyana to come out and rally behind this team. When I say all Guyana I don’t only mean the fans but the Government and corporate Guyana as well. We need this support as we seek to further cement our place in making the World Cup finals.”
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