By Rawle Toney
With seven days to go before Guyana play Anguilla in the CFU Caribbean Cup tournament, there seems to be a great amount of secrecy when it comes to the composition of the Golden Jaguars.
The Anguillans will arrive in Guyana sometime over the weekend for their March 22nd match against Jamaal Shabazz’s men at the Guyana National Stadium, but, the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) is keeping a still tongue when it comes to shortlisted players.
Apart from the fact the GFF’s marketing campaign for the game is very poor, Guyanese, especially those that are active on the various social media platforms, have been voicing their concerns about not knowing who will be representing them in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) showpiece.
Thanks to Facebook, we’ve learned that UK-based players Marcel Barrington and Samuel Cox will be making their journey to Guyana to be part of Shabazz’s set-up, but no word on the other overseas players, especially that of Captain Christopher Nurse who recently signed a contract with NASL club Puerto Rico FC.
While stating that the best possible team will represent Guyana, GFF President Wayne Forde, since taking office, also stated that more local players will be given a chance to represent the Golden Jaguars.
Recently, the GFF’s boss also back those talks by hosting an International Friendly against neighbouring rivals Suriname that featured only local players and those that are competing in the on-going STAG Elite League.
The match against Suriname also saw the return of forward Gregory ‘Jackie Chan’ Richardson (scored both goals in the 2 – 0 win) and his Pele FC teammate Travis Grant.
With players like Emery Welshman, the Real Salt Lake striker, along with Colchester United’s Matthew Briggs, all since Guyana’s exit from the FIFA World Cup Qualifier, stating their commitment to the National team, the public is more than interested to hear if the aforementioned players will be in the line-up.
Clarification on the Briggs eligibility to represent Guyana is something else the country is eagerly awaiting.
The GFF was fined 4 000 Swiss francs (G$859 000) for playing Briggs during their 2-0 win over Grenada in an International Friendly on March 29, 2015 at the Guyana National Stadium.
FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee conducted an investigation on the participation of Briggs with the representative team of the GFF in the International ‘A’ friendly match.
According to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee who met on October 9 and deliberated over the matter before handing down the sanction, “the GFF is liable for the violation of Article 5 of the Regulations governing the Application of the Statutes as well as Article 55. 2 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, for having fielded the player Matthew Briggs, without holding the Guyanese nationality”.
Pernel Schultz had led Guyana to a 2-0 victory over Grenada, scoring both goals in the first half (18th and 38th minutes).
FIFA further noted that the match is declared a loss by forfeit by Guyana (3-0), citing articles of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.
The GFF was also ordered to take all appropriate measures in order to guarantee that the FIFA regulations are strictly complied with.
The 25-year-old Briggs, the youngest player to feature in the English Premier League (EPL) with Fulham FC, got his first senior International cap when he represented Guyana against Grenada, leading up to the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers.
Briggs, who qualified to represent Guyana through his grandmother, had represented England at the U-16 through U-21 levels but never broke into the country’s senior national side.
Was this issue settled so that Briggs could represent Guyana at the CFU? There’s much to be desired when it comes to the GFF properly informing the public and the media about the National Team.
What about Neil Danns; will he be included in Guyana’s line-up? What about his condition to play? The last time we heard that the Bolton Wanderers player was unlikely to feature since he was nursing an injury
Efforts to contact Shabazz proved futile since the Trinidadian is presently out of Guyana.