Following the Golden Jaguars consecutive losses in the third round of the Caribbean Cup, to Suriname and Jamaica, both of which occurred in extra time, despite the locals leading in both instances, at the end of the second loss by a 4-2 margin to the Reggae Boyz, the average football fan/man in the street was demanding the former head coach Jamal Shabbazz, be fired instantly. This was against the backdrop that moreover, with a 2-0 half time lead over the Jamaicans, the locals had no right to lose. While it may be true from a tactical perspective, maybe the second half instructions were not heeded to, albeit when possession is lost each player must get behind the ball. But with this being my opinion, it’s not necessary that it may be so.
However, with the absence of domestic football at the time most importantly the Elite League, would have deprived all the local based national players of competitiveness and game time. Was this the fault of Brother Shabbazz and his coaching staff? Absolutely not! That with the most, four full training sessions, compounded by the entire squad being present, surely, editor this administrative blunder places local football and by extension, meaningful preparation in a quandary. Had the GFF ensured the nation’s premier competition, the Elite League was up and running, then a more favourable account of the Golden Jaguars would have been forthcoming barring the two losses. Were it to be two victories instead, the Gold Cup inaugural participation by Guyana would have been a step closer.
That French Guiana, an overseas based territory of France, along with Guadeloupe and Martinique, which don’t play in no FIFA Qualifying World Cup Tournaments advanced. Editor, this remains a clear indication what development, in totality is all about. Since French Guiana, have already booked their place in this year’s Gold Cup, where is Guyana, when will they be qualifying, in what year? So close, yet so far!
Bro Shabbazz, you have walked the walk and talked the talk, at the end of the day, your resignation as Head Coach, Golden Jaguars was quite rightful, within the realm of professionalism. After all you are not a magician. Meanwhile, your recent appointment as a member of the T&T Coaching staff, ahead of 2 important World Cup Qualifying matches early in 2017, beyond any stretch of imagination is the limited success Guyana’s football secured was with you and your coaching staff. The most significant of which was defeating your native land by a 2-1 margin at the National Stadium, Providence on 11. 11. 11 in the 2014 World Cup Qualifier.
This performance enabled the Golden Jaguars to advance its furthest ever in the World Cup Qualifiers. Bro Jamal in silencing your critics locally, the tide has changed; the tables have turned; your just reward, securing employment with T&T Senior Male National Team. In words of a former national captain and stalwart, Earl O’Neal “90% of the local spectators at a match knows virtually nothing about what they are seeing. But yet still, remains extremely critical of administrators, coaches and referees”. On more than one occasion, I was forced to rebut comments that: “Shabbazz can’t gain employment in Trinidad with a male national team”. My heartiest congratulations Jamal and may the grace of Allah and the fellowship of the Prophet, be with you now and forever more.
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