The National Stadium, Providence is the place to be when Guyana’s national
football team, ‘The Golden Jaguars’ clash with Guatemala in a friendly football encounter to augment their chances of procuring honours in the second round fixtures of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers slated for later this year.
November 11th, 2011 remains indelible in the hearts of all Guyanese as that was the day when Guyana’s ball weavers meted out a thrashing to the ‘Soca Warriors,’ Trinidad and Tobago’s national football team. The win was due, largely in part, to the tremendous support rendered to the locals when Guyanese from all walks of life donned yellow jerseys and trooped to the Providence venue in vociferous support of the local footballers.
The foreign team arrived in Guyana yesterday afternoon and hosted a press conference at the Section K Campbellville office of the Guyana Football Federation. Technical Director of that squad, Ever Hugo Almeida, utilized the services of an interpreter to express confidence in his team even as he hinted that his men are grateful for the practice offered in opposing the local boys.
Coach of the Golden Jaguars, Jamal Shabazz likened the local squad to the David of football even as he referred to the visiting team as the Goliath. “A victory would boost our morale and confirm our standing among the mighty teams in the world,” intimated the national coach. He further said that he has been working with the players on employing strong formations while developing techniques on ball retention. “We are going into this game with a lot of passion and will be doing Guyana proud,” exhorted Mr. Shabazz. He also said that the match would provide an opportunity to assess the ability of the local players and ascertain which areas most needed attention.
Captain of the local side, Christopher Nurse, confirmed that his players are well primed up and rearing to go. He also said that his boys will give a good account of themselves while presenting a stern test to the visitors.
The local squad will comprise a formidable line-up that includes several overseas based players the likes of charismatic captain, Chris Nurse of Carolina Railhawks, a competent North American Soccer League (NASL) team, Leon Cort and Ricky Shakes who play in England, along with defender John Paul “JP” Rodrigues of NASL side Tampa Bay Rowdies. The latter player has been sidelined with an injury which has since healed. Other notable local players include Gregory ‘Jackie Chan’ Richardson, Anthony ‘Awo’ Abrams, Kayode McKinnon and young star, Trayon Bobb.
The Guatemalans will comprise a formidable team led by mid-field general, Marco Papa of Chicago Fire (MLS) and their most capped player Guillermo Ramirez. Other notable players of the foreign squad include Dagoberto Arriola, Carlos Gallardo and Elias E Vasquez, all manning the defence cordon, while strikers Mario Rodriguez, Paulo Cesar Motta and Manuel Leon will strengthen that area.
The match is anticipated to be exciting especially since the Guatemalan team will be anxious to enforce their dominance over the local squad. The foreign team has reached the final qualifying round on four occasions and is definitely a top class unit. Conversely, the Golden Jaguars would attempt to overcome their nemesis in order to send a message to Mexico in their inaugural second round match in that country June 8 next.
The executives of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) are urging Guyanese to come out in their numbers to support the local team. Such support, reminiscent of that of November 11th, 2011 event when supporters donned yellow jerseys in solidarity with the local ball weavers, would serve as the catalyst to another victory and boost the team’s morale.
The significance of national side reaching this round is also highlighted by the fact that it is an official FIFA date for 2012 in which 37 other international friendly games will be played around the world. Essentially the Golden Jaguars are playing in the big leagues of world football by FIFA standards. Today’s encounter is expected to test the mettle of the local ball weavers especially since the Guatemalans are highly ranked and have defeated several power houses the likes of Mexico, Costa Rica and El Salvador during their quest for honours in their group of the FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifiers. They are expected to provide a stern test for the local team since they are also preparing for their third round qualifying matches against the USA, Jamaica and Antigua and Barbuda.
The Guatemalan team will be anxious to enforce their dominance over the local squad while the locals will want to make a statement that they are as good as any of the teams contesting the current competition. The foreign team has reached the final qualifying round on four occasions and is definitely a top class unit. Conversely, the Golden Jaguars would attempt to overcome their nemesis in order to send a message to Mexico in their inaugural second round match in that country June 8 next.
Tickets cost $1,500 and can be had at Ashmin’s, High Street Georgetown all day and also at the venue later on.
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