The competitive nature of the Golden Jaguars Camp which has been going for well over one month has seen the players becoming a fitter unit as they continue to battle for places on the final 23-man team for the Belize Concacaf Nations League clash on Saturday March 23 next at the Leonora Track and Field Facility.
But before the March 23 date, Guyana will be facing their Dutch neighbours Suriname on Saturday in Nickerie in a warm up match that will further test the players as the Technical Staff further assess them against more potent opposition.
Head Coach Michael Johnson, who returned to Guyana on Monday, in an invited comment yesterday following another of the team’s training sessions at the Guyana Football Federation Training Facility at Providence, informed that the shortlisted team is a fitter bunch from the first time they did a fitness test at the beginning of the training.
Johnson offered his take on what the game against Suriname set for the Pierkhan Stadium, Nickerie, Suriname from 16:30hrs or 15:30hrs (local time) on Saturday.
“The game against Suriname allows us to look at a lot of formations, look at a lot of players and to just see how the players will gel against a stiffer opposition, which is another international set up, which would allow us to then judge them against another better opposition before naming the final 23-man squad to take on Belize.”
The former Jamaica international, who also played at the Gold Cup, noted that the based on the depth of training that has taken place thus far, it has presented a terrific base for teams and players going into the next Elite League Season, noting that were it not for the camp, the players probably would not have been as fit as they are now.
Citing that it is always tough when you have to trim squads, Johnson said that he spoke with the players not going forward, pointing out that they have all had a significant role to play in the entire process thus far in the competitive nature of the camp.
“So you are pushing players beyond their capacities because you want yourself to get in which is then propelling other players to their best game. I know it doesn’t mean anything right now, but everybody has a part to play in the bigger picture but of course we can only take 23 and of course out of the 23 you can only play 11.
So it’s important for us going in to this Suriname game to have the opportunity to see players outside of their comfort zone now where they know everybody on the GFF Training Center, now we going to an international set up – Suriname – and we can judge them against better opposition.”
Forward Delroy Fraser also offered comments on how he feels about being a part of the team heading to Suriname on Friday and what he is looking forward to in this sojourn.
“It’s a great experience for me and the players in this match on Saturday, as the coach said they are watching to see how we react outside of our comfort zone but my aim is to make it in the final 23 come the 23rd against Belize.
The attitude in this team is positive and high; everybody has been pushing themselves because they would like to make the final cut because qualifying for the Gold Cup would be a very huge accomplishment for Guyana and would be historical.”
Fraser noted that it would be sad to see that all the players would not be able to make the final 23, “But that is how it is.”
He is calling on the fans to come out and support wearing their golden Jaguars Replica jerseys on March 23rd, next.
“My call is that we need your support, we cannot do it alone. You as fans is most important as the 12th-man and once you come out and support us it would motivate and drive us to do better. We are not doing this for us, we are doing this for our country and we really need you as fans to come out and rally around us.”
Meanwhile, the local based squad engaged the East Bank Demerara Football Association select team on Saturday last in another training match at the GFF National Training Centre. Guyana-based Assistant Coach Charles Pollard in an invited comment said there were a lot of positives taken away: “We were working on possession from the last game (against Fruta Conquerors FC); from keeping possession to converting our chances. In the weekend game, the guys did well despite the opposition was not as strong as expected. We looked at our moments, the decision making and converting the chances; those were a plus, we were spot on in that regard.”
Tickets for the match are being sold at $1500 at the following locations: Andrews Supermarket (Aubrey Barker Road, South Ruimveldt), The Guinness Bar (Durban Street), West Indian Sports Complex (Robb Street), Nice Restaurante (Status Hotel, Croal Street), Pegasus Hotel Guyana, KFC Outlets (Regent Street & Mandela Avenue), Dad’s Fish Shop (Den Amstel) and Patsy Food Court and Bar (Linden Soesdyke Junction).
Fan jerseys are also available at the GFF Secretariat at a cost of G $5,000. Kick off time on March 23rd is 18:30hrs.
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