National Coach Jamaal Shabazz is unfazed about comments made by Alpha United Football Club boss Odinga Lumumba about using more local based players in the World Cup Qualifiers.
Shabazz, who has been credited with taking Guyana’s football to heights that have never been achieved in the history of the country, said that there is no need for distractions of this sort at this time while acknowledging that he expects everyone to be an expert on team issues.
Who plays for Guyana is the decision of the Head Coach and his Staff, stated Shabazz. “There are no local or foreign player issues on this team. As far as we are concerned Guyana’s National team is for Guyanese no matter if they were born in Bartica or Spain.”
Shabazz praised Lumumba for the role he has been playing in helping the Guyana teams and commended him on his overall contribution to the game. “I have full respect for Brother Lumumba and he is an important stakeholder in Guyana’s football, but selection issues fall under me,” stated Shabazz.
He stated that all and sundry have made tremendous sacrifices to get this far but we must respect each other’s role; emphasising that the treatment of players must be fair and at the same time they must earn their places on merit not on whether they are foreign or local based.
To wear this Guyana shirt a player has got to earn it, emphasized Shabazz who is coming up against his native Trinidad and Tobago in the all important FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 Qualifiers set for the Guyana National Stadium Providence on Friday from 20:00hrs with the return game set for the Hasley Crawford Stadium, Trinidad on November 15.
On the issue of a full time role for Coach Wayne Dover, Shabazz was in agreement with Lumumba. “Dover is my brother my equal and part of the reason I returned to the Guyana team. He and Collie Hercules are the ones responsible for the foundation of this success and we work as a united force.”
There are a lot of things that have got to change for Guyana to progress in the way it should he noted. “We need to have full time Coaches but we also need a collective effort from Government and Corporate Guyana to join with the GFF and other stakeholders, for this to happen.
The Government and Corporate Guyana are showing a willingness to come aboard and we are putting our best foot forward to create a team that will do Guyana proud. Our time has come we must unite and seize the moment now,” concluded Shabazz.
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