By Sean Devers
In 2010 Guyana Women’s team qualified for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in Mexico which is a World Cup qualifier and the 2016 Olympic Qualifying tournament in Texas and is the only National programme of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) to qualify for a CONCACAF Tournament.
But this could be the toughest qualification battle yet for the Lady Jags since they have not had as much time as Head Coach Dr Ivan Joseph would have liked to prepare.
It’s one day to crunch time as the Lady Jags face-off with arguable the strongest team in Group ‘E’ of the CONCACAF Caribbean Qualifiers tomorrow night at Leonora Track and Field Stadium where Guyana and Bermuda will clash from 19:30hrs in the feature game of a double header. Barbados and Suriname, the other teams in the Group, battle each other in the opening game from 17:00hrs.
“A Coach will always say he needs more time but we are the best prepared as we could,” said Coach Joseph yesterday during the team’s visit to GTT’s Headquarters on Brickdam.
When asked about the strength of his team Joseph informed there are some players who have been on the team for 10 years and should provide veteran leadership.
“We have some good young players coming up. One from Philadelphia, one that plays out of Brown University, IVY player of the year and Guyana player of the year Thandi (Smith). We have some young talent but the strength of the team will be the upper spine. Our Centre Backs, three Centre mids and our Centre forward are all top quality players,” informed the Coach who been with this team for just one month.
Joseph said he was told that in the past Guyana beat Suriname 4-0 but when they last played in Trinidad less than three weeks ago he felt the team was very fortunate leave T&T with 2-2 Tie.
“Bermuda won the last U-17 CONCACAF Tournament and some of those players will be included in this team so I feel Bermuda will be our toughest challenge and we play them first,” Joseph stated.
The Head Coach pointed out that when they played in Trinidad it was not until their third game that they started to show improvement.
Joseph said he does not feel any pressure because of the short period he has been with the team.
“If I was here for year it would have been different. I think the work I do will be seen next year this time,” the Coach explained.
He however feels that the players will feel the pressure since they are used to qualifying, adding that his job is to mitigate that pressure.
“They have not been together as team for a long time….the team has been dormant and been short of high level Football during that time. So there is where I have to balance realistic expectations of what can do now and what can do in 12 months,” said Joseph.
He added that he would be thinking about what the team can do by next year but with only a month under his belt he feels that the team will be hard pressed.
The Head Coach indicated that his charges practiced at Leonora since they arrived here and has devised plans to counter the pitch, which is sand based and two practice games are planned before tournament starts.
Admission is $500 and children will school uniforms will be admitted free.
On Wednesday, Bermuda play Barbados (17:00hrs) and Suriname oppose Guyana (19:30hrs), while on Sunday Suriname come up against Bermuda (17:30hrs) before Barbados face-off with the home team from 19:30hrs.
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