By Franklin Wilson
Just separated by goal difference following wins in their respective opening matches of the 2019/2020 Concacaf Nations League, Guyana’s Golden Jaguars and Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz will battle tonight at the Leonora Track and Field Facility from 19:00hrs chasing another three points.
The last time these two nations met at the same venue back in October of 2016, the visitors came from two goals down to win the match 2-4. Yesterday at the Pegasus Hotel, both teams interfaced with the media and have expressed confidence in coming out victors tonight.
Assistant Coach of the Golden Jaguars, former national player Charles ‘Lily’ Pollard said that the game is a massive one for Guyana and noting that starting as an underdog, having lost to the lads from Reggae Town on all four occasions they have met since 1991, is a very good challenge.
“I think the guys are excited and ready to rear and go to play this game. Our chances are equal, the ball is round; the team that we provide now is overseas and local, senior and some young guys and as you know the young guys enthusiasm is always high so I think it would be a very competitive game and our chances are equal.”
Pollard further said that a draw in this match-up would not be a bad result.
Team Captain, Sam Cox while acknowledging that his side is the underdog, stated that they have just come off of a good performance against Aruba in Curacao on Friday last (1-0) which will surely give them some confidence going into tonight’s match.
“Its ninety minutes of football and we are going to give everything we can to get a result.” Recalling the last match when Guyana was ahead and still lost, Cox stated that it was heart breaking being ahead of one of the Caribbean giants and then eventually losing in extra time.
“It was a tough one to take and we were that close back then to qualifying for the gold cup, didn’t do it then but we learnt from our mistakes, we came back stronger and you know we’ve had the success in the summer of going to the gold cup, entering a major tournament for the first time in our history.”
Captain Cox reminded that it is a complete different squad composition, a good blend of local and overseas players and that they have to manage the expectations of players and fans: “Because it is a transition period from the summer where we had Coach Johnson and now we’ve got Coach Máximo in charge, it’s a different team dynamic now, he’s had just under a week to work with the boys and training has gone to plan. He’s put out his methodology and philosophy that he wants to get across and the boys have taken that on board but Rome wasn’t built in a day, things are going to take time.”
Cox also posited that the experience of Sheldon Holder, Neil Danns, Matthew Briggs, Keanu Marsh-Brown and himself can bring the goods home for Guyana.
Jamaica’s Assistant Coach, Jerome Waite noted that it is always a pleasure to be in Guyana and they are looking forward to a competitive game. He said they are taking the CNL serious as it is a gateway to the world cup.
Waite too, remembered the last encounter between the two nations but noted that this time around, it’s a new generation of players.
“Only a few players who played in that game are still around so the nucleus looks good and the chemistry, they are only getting better as they play more games and we are looking forward to another exciting game.” Like Guyana, the Jamaica team has a blend of local and overseas players.
Guyana – Alex Murray (Santos FC), Akel Clarke (SV WBC), Quillan Roberts (Forge FC), Sam Cox (Hampton & Richmond FC), Sherwin Skeete (Fruta Conquerors FC), Kevin Layne (Guyana Defence Force FC), Raphael Edwards (SV WBC), Matthew Briggs (HB Koge), Liam Gordon (Dagenham & Redbridge FC), Neil Danns (Unattached), Clive Nobrega (Eagles FC), Daniel Wilson (Guyana Police Force FC), Delwin Fraser (Guyana Defence Force FC), Stephen Duke-McKenna (Queens Park Rangers FC), Ryan Hackett (Fruta Conquerors FC), Kelsey Benjamin (Caledonia AIA), Keanu Marsh-Brown (Newport County AFC), Pernell Schultz (Guyana Police Force FC), Terell Ondaan (Grenoble Foot 38), Sheldon Holder (Caledonia AIA).
Jamaica – Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union), Amal Knight (University of the West Indies), Jeadine White (Humble Lion), Shaun Francis (Louisville City FC), Kemar Lawrence (New York Red Bulls), Damion Lowe (IK Start), Adrian Mariappa (Watford), Fabion McCarthy (University of the West Indies), Elvis Powell (FC Cincinnati), Kevaughn Isaacs (Mount Pleasant FA), Andre Lewis (Portmore United FC), Je-Vaughn Watson (Oklahoma City Energy), Devon Williams (Louisville City FC), Chavany Willis (Portmore United FC), Leon Bailey (Bayer Leverkusen), Brian Brown (Reno 1868 FC), Cory Burke (Philadelphia Union), Junior Flemmings (Phoenix Rising FC), Alex Marshall (Cavalier SC), Shamar Nicholson (NK Domzale), Dever Orgill (MKE Ankaragucu), Bobby Reid (Cardiff City), Peter Vassell (Los Angeles FC).
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