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.
After narrowly missing on a quarter final berth to Jamaica on goal difference, Guyana must now focus its attention on leaving the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Champions here in Nassau Bahamas with a good ranking, the first time the nation would be ranked in the Beach Soccer world.
Already creating history by being the first male team for the Land of many Waters to make it to a CONCACAF finals whilst also registering its first win (4-1 over Belize), the Abdullah Hamid Coached Golden Jaguars of the beach will now fancy their chances of ending on a high.
Their first opponent will be Antigua and Barbuda and up to press time it was not known what time the match would be today as the organisers were awaiting the completion of all group matches before setting the playoff matches.
Hamid, commenting on the performance of the team following their victory over Belize said that he was proud of the boys as they played with more purpose, noting that playing at this level for the first time affected their performances in the first two matches as they still had some butterflies to overcome.
”I had a lot of discussions with them individually trying to get them physic-up for battle at this level, pointing out that this was serious business with GFF investing and expecting that they would represent well. I told them they needed to rise to the occasion because I know they can play the game, and they responded well.”
Hamid noted that the win was a plus for Guyana and can only do well for the sport going forward.
”This victory means a lot to us, we can only go back and support the sport and ensure that it is spread around Guyana and have more persons being involved which would allow the sport to grow. Next time around we would have a bigger pool that we can invest in and play more tournaments.”
Hamid posited that they are aiming to stay in the single file of ranking within CONCACAF.
”We don’t want to get over twelve we want to stay under ten so we are hoping that the draws that we have to play our next three games can be teams we played before or even weaker teams on the other side since we came out third in our group.”
Well, Antigua and Barbuda which the Guyanese defeated at the Barbados Festival two weeks will be the next opponent today.
The Antiguans won their last Group match yesterday also via a 6-3 margin over the United States Virgin Islands. They had raced to a 6-0 lead by the third and final quarter but were stunned when the USVI fired in three unanswered goals almost causing panic in the Antigua camp.
The biggest upset of yesterday and possibly the tournament was when Guadeloupe stormed into the quarter finals with an upset 4-3 win over powerhouse Canada in the first match of the day, thus denying the Canadians a quarter final berth.
In a match that both teams needed to win to advance, produced a see saw tussle which saw Guadeloupe going ahead before Canada equalised then went ahead; Guadeloupe then equalised at 3-3 before hitting in the winning goal to seal their final eight place while relegating a dejected Canada to the playoffs.
Mexico, like the Bahamas ended the group stage with an unblemished record of three wins apiece following their 10-0 demolition of Barbados. El Salvador hammered Costa Rica 8-2 in another match yesterday to top Group D. The final match of the Group last night featured Panama against Turks and Caicos Islands; a win for the Panamanians would see them sealing the other spot from the group into the quarter finals.
Panama came back and hammered Turks and Caicos Islands 8-4, the score was tied at 4-4 going into the final period. So Panama advanced.
Trinidad and Tobago and the USA which both have qualified for the final 8 were set to play the final game of the night to decide who would top the group.The Bahamas had defeated Jamaica 3-2 in the feature match on Wednesday night with the home fans braving the rain and cold conditions to come out by the hundreds to cheer their team on.
The BFA Soccer Stadium at Malcolm Park is constructed alongside the beach.
Already booking quarter finals berths are, from Group A host Bahamas and Jamaica, Group B, Mexico and Guadeloupe; Group C, USA and Trinidad & Tobago and Group D, El Salvador.
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