Shabazz announce 6 changes to starting lineup
Having already qualified for the third-round of the CONCACAF FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 qualifying competition, Guyana’s National Head Coach Jamaal Shabazz yesterday announced six changes to the starting team for the Golden Jaguars return match against Trinidad and Tobago today at the Hasley Crawford Stadium in the Twin Island Republic.
Out due to injury are strikers Gregory ‘Jackie Chan’ Richardson and Carl Cort; midfielders – Skipper Christopher Nurse and Kayode McKinnon; Shawn Beveney and energetic winger Dwain Jacobs.
Goal scorer Ricky Shakes and number one Goalkeeper Ronson Williams will be on the substitutes bench for today’s encounter.
Shabazz in announcing the changes to the team noted that the Technical Staff is seeking to widen the pool of players available to them. “We will use this game to expose the players who have not seen action in the campaign and try to widen the pool,” stated Shabazz. “This will certainly keep the local based players happy and be a just reward for the work they have put in over the last two months, he added.
Veteran Goalie Richard Reynolds will start between the uprights, while youngsters Vurlon Mills, Dwight Peters and Anthony Benfield will all be in the starting X1.
Returning to the starting team after injury is English based defender Chris Bourne and Pele FC midfielder Travis Grant. Canadian born wingback Taylor Benjamin is also expected to start.
“It’s going to be a tougher game for us because the T&T lads will want to restore some wounded pride,” predicted Shabazz.
Guyana has earned the right to face CONCACAF powerhouse Mexico, Costa Rica and El Salvador after defeating the Soca Warriors 2-0 on Friday last at the Guyana National Stadium Providence before a capacity crowd decked out in yellow.
The historic win for the ‘Golden Jaguars’ propelled them to the Group B title with one game in hand.
Shabazz said that the fact that Guyana will be exposing young players, it’s not disrespectful to the opponents but an opportunity for the staff to give some of the local based Guyanese players the opportunity to prove themselves.
The Caledonia based duo of Treyon Bobb and Colin Nelson along with North East Stars Custodian Andrew Durant have been added to the Guyana line up.
Ranked 11th in CONCACAF and 97th in the world, Guyana will be aiming to maintain their unbeaten record in stage two. The exposure of a number of players who are eager to show that they are capable of being in the squad presents an exciting prospect for the Technical staff which has been working hard over the past two months.
Playing at home, Guyana defeated Barbados and Bermuda 2-0 and 2-1 respectively. In their respective return games, the ‘Golden Jaguars’ trounced Barbados by another 2-0 margin and drew with Bermuda 1-1.
Shabazz noted that the game has become a very important practice game for the Golden Jaguars given the fact that the Soca Warriors will be coming after the ‘Golden Jaguars’ since there pride has been wounded.
While there might not be a sellout crowd at the Stadium today, it is expected that hundreds will attend to see what is anticipated to be a fierce battle; the ‘Golden Jaguars’ aiming to maintain their unbeaten run, while the Soca Warriors will be seeking to salvage some pride after being wounded in the jungle at Providence by the rampaging Jaguars.
Guyana starting line-up: Richard Reynolds, Christopher Bourne, Leon Cort, Charles ‘Lily’ Pollard, Jake Newton, Walter Moore, Travis Grant, Anthony Belfield, Ricky Shakes, Vurlon Mills and Dwight Peters.
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