By Franklin Wilson in the Bahamas with the compliments of Ringbang, Crown Mining Supplies, Fazia’s Collection, Fitness Express, German’s Restaurant and Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club.
When the whistle is blown by the referee at 20:00hrs Bahamas time tonight at the BFA Stadium, Malcolm Park to signal the start of the feature match of six on the opening night of the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship, it will be forever etched in history as the first time Guyana is represented at this level.
Months of preparations which started with the first ever National Beach Soccer League sponsored by Corona Beer in early 2016 was then followed by a squad being named to commence preparations towards participation at the CONCACAF Championship, it is now a reality.
Coach Abdullah Hamid and his Technical Staff along with the excited players have all expressed that they are here to do their best for Guyana come this evening and every other match that they will play whilst here, six in total.
Hamid noted that whilst the road has not been easy to travel, the team is satisfied with efforts made by the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) to ensure that they are here as well as was able to participate at the Barbados Beach Soccer Showcase last weekend in the Land of the Flying Fish.
Guyana will play the sixth and final match of today’s opening day and have been drawn in Group ‘A’ which also has Jamaica and Belize.
Hamid, who was part of a CONCACAF Programme to equip the coaches of the sixteen competing nations at this championship, told Kaieteur Sport that preparations have gone very well and they are now eager to show what Guyana can do.
“We are ready and rearing to go here in the Bahamas. Our training was boosted no doubt with the Barbados competition and we are grateful since it allowed us to iron out a few areas in our play.”
Guyana which had played back to back matches on the opening night in Barbados lost to both Trinidad and Tobago and England but rebounded in style to down the host nation and Antigua and Barbuda before enjoying a short camp in Barbados before heading to the Bahamas on Friday last.
“We learnt quite a bit from the two losses in Barbados and the good thing is that we had ample time to work on the weak areas, that we did and it brought us two wins. The guys recognized the style of play that is needed at this level and we adjusted. We strived to maintain possession instead of just kicking and running behind the ball.”
Zooming in on this tournament, Hamid boasted that the players have matured mentally and will give of their best.
“We have been improving all along and when it comes to knowing a bit about our first opponent, I was fortunate to be in Miami at the CONCACAF training exercise and Bahamas was there to do execution of drills for us, so I know them. We have also spent quite a lot of time watching DVD’s of them playing and their style.”
Hamid stated that the advantage Guyana has is that, a lot of people only knew and saw them playing in Barbados. He is calling on the nation to support the team.
“What we are trying to accomplish is being the first football team from Guyana to qualify for a World Cup. I would like to see our fellow Guyanese supporting us. I know many of them are doing so, so I am encouraging others to follow them.
We are here to set Guyana on the map of Beach Football and once we achieve that, Beach Football would spread to all parts of Guyana. We need more youths to come to the sport.”
Hamid informed that the GFF has rendered overwhelming support to the team and they are very grateful for this.
“They have been there from the start and all the way giving support and ensured that we would have been given some level of international practice ahead of being here for our biggest Beach Soccer campaign to date.
Guyana will play Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz tomorrow in the main supporting match at 18:45hrs while they will close out group play on Wednesday with a match against Belize. The top two teams from each group would advance to the quarter finals.
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