Jan 12, 2021 Sports
Kaieteur News – Given the all clear by the National Covid-19 Task Force to commence training ahead of crucial FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers, the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) kicked off preparations of the ‘Golden Jaguars’ with the first phase of the players’ physical evaluations on Sunday last at the Federation’s National Training Centre, Providence, East Bank Demerara.
The Senior Men’s National Team (SMNT), the nation’s flagship team will be battling neighbours and fierce rivals Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday March 25 in the Twin Island Republic as they seek a winning start to Group F of the Concacaf qualifiers which also includes St. Kitts & Nevis, Bahamas and Puerto Rico.
According to a GFF release, the fitness tests provides important information for the coaching staff and will inform of individual and squad training regimes in the run up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
The evaluation, conducted over two days with different cohorts of players, follows testing of the domestic-based squad and backroom staff for the covid-19 virus last week as part of protocols put in place under the UEFA Assist 100-day “Bounceback” programme.
The Federation has also informed that the National Covid-19 Task Force granting of permission to resume training hinges on strict measures being in place and followed to defend against the spread of the virus.
“Today’s rigorous tests give our coaches a clear idea of the fitness levels of individual players and what we need to work on to ensure the squad is in peak condition come March,” said GFF President Wayne Forde. “Considering the lack of competition over the past year, we are pleased to report that the squad is already looking in good shape thanks in part to the individual training plans they were given by the GFF technical team during the lockdown.”
“Going forward, we will be taking every precaution necessary to ensure that the squad and staff remain safe and well during this time, including regular testing for COVID-19. We look forward to the full resumption of training in the coming days, as long as conditions allow, and remain ready to take any action required if the pandemic enters another difficult phase.”
GFF Fitness Coach Wilson Toledo and Golden Jaguars’ Assistant Coach Charles Pollard oversaw the fitness evaluations on Sunday, with a total of 25 players going through the paces.
The locally based ‘Golden Jaguars’ who were part of the successfully concluded ‘Bounce Back’ Football Fiesta organised by the GFF, Ministry of culture Youth and Sport and the Kashif & Shanghai Organisation will be seeking to be in the best shape of their lives as they aim to make the final cut for the Guyana team.
Guyana, ranked 167th in the world, will throw down the gauntlet to T&T (103) on March 25th which would be the first of four matches in Group F knowing that only the group winner would be advancing.
March 30th would see the Guyanese playing at home when they welcome to these shores, Bahamas, ranked 196. In the June window, all things being equal and covid-19 under control, the ‘Golden Jaguars’ would be away to the 140th ranked St. Kitts & Nevis on Friday June 4th and return here for their final group match against Puerto Rico (179) on Tuesday June 8th.
The winner of the group will proceed to the second round where they will join the winners of the five other groups. The pre determined matchups would see Group A winner vs Group F winner, Group B winner vs Group E winner and Group C winner vs Group D winner.
The teams will play home and away in a direct elimination format. The Final Round of the Concacaf Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will see the three winners from the Second Round join the Concacaf Member Associations ranked 1-5. The eight teams will play each other home and away, with each team playing 14 matches.
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