Jun 10, 2023 Sports
– Guyana to play Martinique today
By Rawle Toney
Kaieteur Sports – With one week to go before the Golden Jaguars roar into action against Grenada in the preliminary round of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the team’s assistant Coach Wayne Dover, is buoyed by the enthusiasm of the players during their ongoing encampment.
Speaking at an arranged media engagement from Palm Beach, Miami, where the Golden Jaguars had set-up shop ahead of their June 17 engagement against the men from the Spice Isle, Dover believes the final composition of the team will reflect a side that can progress in the CONCACAF showpiece.
Head coach Jamaal Shabazz is currently in Guyana working on attaining his visa to enter the US, leaving Dover as the de facto leader of the pack of Golden Jaguars.
Shabazz’s two-year imprisonment for his involvement in the 1990 Jamaat al Muslimeen coup attempt has hampered his ability to travel to some countries, including the USA, where conditions are applied.
In 2012, when the Golden Jaguars played Mexico at the BBVA Compass Stadium, Shabazz was unable to make the trip, leaving Dover to lead the squad in battle. However, according to Dover, Shabazz is engaged in the team’s activity on a daily basis, utilizing virtual platforms available for communication.
Dover reminded the local media that he’s “not a stranger being in a position to leading the Golden Jaguars,” pointing to his two stints as the country’s Senior Men’s National Team Head coach in 2009 – 2010 and then again in 2017.
Dover was at the helm of the Golden Jaguars last outing against Grenada in an International Friendly in 2017 at the Grenada National Stadium, St. George’s, where they lost 1-0.
“In football, there’s no guarantee, the teams are preparing for the match. The game will be competitive; the team that plays well, makes the least mistakes and score their chances will most-likely come out the winner,” Dover said.
Despite their confidence and preparation, Dover is managing expectations and not making any guarantees of victory “many times we’ve seen in football, teams don’t play to their true potential because they might score their chances, so in that regards, we’re not saying that we’re definitely going to win the game; that a form of managing expectations of the spectators.”
Dover continued, “internally, the players know what they’re preparing for and they’re confident as well in our approach to the game and we know collectively we can do a good job, so there’s no hype amongst the staff. We know there’s a process in how we go about the game.”
Before heading to Miami, the Golden Jaguars had a camp in Jamaica where they were engaged in high-intensity fitness regimen.
The team played Arnett Gardens FC and lost 2-0, but Dover stated that the game was not about the results, but Dover said the game wasn’t about the results, “players were coming back into fitness since the season was finished…our main focus was not about the result, but getting the players back into game mode. We’re satisfied. Not that we didn’t want to win the game, but the result was not the main focus.”
Guyana is making its third appearance at the Gold Cup, but has only once played in the tournament’s Main Draw which came in 2019, while bowing out at the preliminary round in 2021.
“In the early days, Venezuela were considered the whipping boys of the South American continent, but they kept going until they become a formidable force, so that’s our aim, to continue to prepare and try to do our best to get the results,” Dover said.
If successful against Grenada on June 17, the Golden Jaguars will face the winner between Guadalupe and Trinidad and Tobago for a chance to play in the Main Draw against Canada, Guatemala, and Cuba in Group D.
DECEPTION & CORRUPTION getting WORSE by the minute in GUYANA.
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