– youngest World Cup Captain in CONCACAF
The Cooperative Republic of Guyana recently achieved another milestone in the world of sports. The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) which is a 100+ years old celebrated 36 years of playing World Cup Football.
Statistician Charwayne Walker who started a series of articles to highlight Guyanese players, who would have served this nation during those years, continues with his second installment having featured Earl O’Neal (WC Player 1976-1980) in the first.
Our featured player in this installment is Deon Barnwell – Guyana International Player 1985 – 1996.
Born on the March 28, 1969, Thomas United utility maestro Deon Barnwell became the youngest man to Captain a Guyana team in a World Cup qualifier. Barnwell was 19 years one month when he led the Land of the Majestic Kaieteur Falls against Trinidad & Tobago at Camp Ayanganna, April 1988.
Although Guyana lost the match 4-0 it was the only time a 19 year-old had the distinction of wearing the captaincy arm band in a World Cup qualifier in the CONCACAF Region.
Barnwell’s first stint in national colours was at the Robbies International tournament in Toronto Canada in August 1985 at age 16 years four months. He ended the tournament as the leading goal scorer with 13 goals and the headlines in Toronto was “Little boy with a big future”.
His next International assignment was October 1985 this time with the National Under-21 team for an International Triangular series with host Suriname and French Guiana.
Guyana lost both matches, but just like in Toronto four months earlier, the 16 year-old Barnwell was Guyana’s leading goal scorer. So it was no surprise when National Senior Coach Lennox Arthur included Barnwell in the National Under-23 squad against French Guiana’s senior National team for two friendly Internationals at Camp Ayanganna in November 1985.
In the opening encounter Barnwell became the youngest Guyanese to score in International matches, he was 16 years 8 months. His goal and another by Adrian Forde inspired Guyana to a 2-0 win. Barnwell was also on target in the series finale which ended 1-1.
The following year, July 1986, Barnwell featured in two friendly Internationals against Barbados at the GCC Ground, Bourda. His next outing in national colours was back in Toronto Canada, August 1986 with the National Under-19 team for the Robbies International tournament and just like he did in 1985, he was again the leading goal scorer.
His 1986 International campaign ended on a sad note with a draw and a loss to Suriname in the Caribbean Football Union Under-19 championship. Guyana suffered a 4-0 drubbing in Paramaribo and drew 1-1 at Camp Ayanganna.
Barnwell silenced the fans in Nassau, Bahamas with a brace in January 1987 before his 18th birthday as Terrence Archer’s men started their Olympic qualifying campaign with a 3-0 victory.
Two days later still not 18 years old, he scored another double, this time against St. Lucia in Castries as the Guyanese won that International friendly 3-1; Barnwell netting his third brace of goals at the International level.
In March 1987 against Barbados at the National Stadium in Bridgetown, Guyana drew 2-2 with the host. The 18 year-old 9th senior International goal was achieved against Grenada at Mackenzie Sports Club Ground as Guyana won 3-0. Now could FIFA or CONCACAF show which other 18 year-old had 9 senior Internationals goals.
Barnwell scored his last International goal against French Guiana at the Andre Kamperveen Stadium in Paramaribo in the Shell Caribbean Cup, 1994. He played his final International match for Guyana in 1996 against Suriname at GFC Ground at the age of 26.
Canada 1985 Robbie International
Suriname 1985 National Under-21
Canada 1986 Robbie International
Suriname 1986 CFU Under-19 Champ/s
Bahamas 1987 Olympic Qualifier
St. Lucia 1987 International Friendly
Barbados 1987 International Friendly
Dominican Republic 1987 Olympic Qualifiers
Guatemala 1987 Olympic Qualifiers
Los Angeles 1987 Olympic Qualifiers
Trinidad & Tobago 1988 World Cup Qualifier
Suriname 1990 Shell Caribbean Cup
Suriname 1992 Shell Caribbean Cup
Suriname 1992 World Cup Qualifier
Trinidad & Tobago 1993 Goodwill Tour
Antigua & Barbuda 1994 Goodwill Tour
St. Kitts & Nevis 1994 Goodwill Tour
Suriname 1996 Shell Caribbean Cup
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