A national female indoor team is departed last Evening for Toronto, Canada where they will compete in the upcoming Field Hockey Canada (FHC) Invitational Indoor Tri-Nation series, scheduled begin tomorrow and concludes on Sunday.
The Guyana Hockey Board (GHB) was initially hoping to enter both male and female teams, as there is nothing else on the indoor hockey calendar internationally, as part of the preparations for the next Indoor Pan American Cup (IPAC) which is scheduled to be held in March 2020 in Pennsylvania, United States (U.S.).
There were some difficulties in managing to achieve both, especially on the male side, and so the men will be unable to attend.
The ladies have been preparing since early January at the National Gymnasium under the guidance of head coach, Philip Fernandes.
Eight of the twelve players remain from the 2017 national team who competed in the IPAC that was hosted for the first time in Guyana.
Those players are goalkeeper Alyssa Xavier, Marisha Fernandes, Trisha Woodroffe, Marzana Fiedtkou, Nicole Eastman, Gabriella Xavier, Minsodia Culpepper and Latacia Cheong.
The GHB, in using this event as a preparation for 2020 and beyond, has opted to give the opportunity to new, young players who show the potential to be good representatives of the country for the future.
As a result, it has named it’s youngest-ever squad which features two reserves, three 14-year-olds, two 15-year-olds and others in their early twenties.
Coach Fernandes has lamented the loss of Aliyah Gordon due to injury, as he considers her to be one of those special players around whom the future of women’s hockey can be built.
Fernandes, however, is very excited by the several teenagers in the line-up as he feels that they are among the most talented players we have seen in recent years in the women’s programme.
Guyana women (ranked 31) will face Canada’s national team (ranked 17th), a President’s XI, as well as the national team of Kazakhstan (ranked 13th), who represented Asia in the last Indoor World Cup in Berlin.
Fernandes indicated that the two countries, Canada and Kazakhstan, boast far superior reputations in indoor hockey than Guyana and he expressed great appreciation for the invitation from Field Hockey Canada and their willingness to include Guyana in the series.
While Fernandes is cautiously optimistic of his team’s chances, he thinks that it is exactly what the local ladies need at this very moment.
He indicated that the young players need to be exposed to this level of tough competition where they can see, experience and appreciate indoor hockey, its toughness and the level of physical and skilful play required to be at the top.
Fernandes’ only regret during preparation was that players were unable to train on the tiled floor at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, as the multi-sport facility would not have been available for these months.
He, however, was appreciative for the use of the gymnasium, which, although has a different and slower matt surface, allowed the team to get through its training.
Matches will all be played at the University of Toronto’s Athletics Centre and begins today.
The full Guyana squad reads:
Reserves: Charlia Webb and Madison Fernandes
Coach: Philip Fernandes
Manager: Tiffany Solomon
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