Possible Int. Friendly against Argentina in May
By Franklin Wilson in Houston Texas compliments of Fazia’s Collection, Crown Mining Supply, Anglin Enterprises USA, Stag Beer, Germans Restaurant, Queensway Security Service
Head Coach of the Lady Jags Mark Rodrigues in summing up the performance of Guyana’s #1 female team said that the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship presented an opportunity for the players to advance themselves and the programme.
Rodrigues was speaking at the post match press conference of Tuesday night at the BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas following Guyana’s 1-5 defeat to Caribbean rivals Trinidad and Tobago in the sides final Group B match.
The win for the Soca Princesses earned them a place in the semifinals against the USA tomorrow, it is the first time that any Caribbean nation has reached this far at this level, the highest in CONCACAF.
The Lady Jags also created history on Sunday last, February 14th, when they defeated Guatemala 2-1 becoming only the third Caribbean nation to record a win at this level.
So while the dedicated and history making Lady Jags did not advance further, they have warmed the hearts of all and sundry with their ‘heart of a jaguar’ performances in all three matches, conceding the least amount of goals against one of CONCACAF’s powerhouses, Canada in the group.
Canada won against Guyana 5-0, thumped T&T 6-0, while hammering Guatemala 10-0 in the group’s final match on Tuesday night.
Rodrigues who has been the chief architect behind the formation and rise of the Lady Jags expressed happiness and the growth of the players when compared to 2010 when they had qualified for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in Cancun Mexico where they lost all three matches.
Defender Justine Rodrigues who shared the post-match press conference with her coach said that the players are all very passionate about the game and relish such opportunities to prove that they belong.
“I think that it is just an amazing thing to make it thus far for a small country like Guyana. We are always underestimated so if we come out and be proud of ourselves and play hard and win in these advanced tournaments I think that’s just an accomplishment in itself. Unlucky tonight but I know that we will be back sometime and hopefully we’ll do better next time.”
Looking ahead, the Head Coach said that he has initiated some talks with Argentina with a view to playing them in an international friendly in May as part of Guyana’s 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations.
“We’re actually looking for a quality opponent, I’ve initiated some talks today (Tuesday) with Argentina so along with that, I know the federation under the new administration are working hard to make sure that the proper funding and so go towards the women’s programme to continue and not let this die like it did in the past, after 2010.”
“I know they are working feverishly to ensure that we have some funding that we can continue to play a few internationals each year and possibly have some camps on a more regular basis so that we are a lot more prepared.”
The speed of the Trinidad and Tobago players was just unmatchable the coach conceded.
“We just couldn’t match the speed of their wingers, as a result of that, it created a few gaping holes that they exploited. Kudos to them, they came with a good game plan to utilise their strength in that department.”
He explained that Guyana went into the match with a game plan to control the middle but it didn’t work out. “It’s always a match of wits but the break down was speed kills.”
Justine Rodrigues noted that her team is very good at re-grouping and coming back as she recounted what was said by the players in a huddle after they conceded four goals in the first 21 minutes including an own goal. Thereafter, Trinidad were only able to score once.
Words of encouragement to give it their all; play with pride and give it your best were uttered among the Lady Jags at that juncture of the match.
“I think it’s easy to forget what you have when you are down, you get a little defeated at moments but I think our team is very, very good at coming back and I think it’s because we have those little talks to kind of just refresh our mind and get back to focusing on the goal at hand.”
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