Gold Cup qualification: “It would feel like I win something”

- ‘Jackie Chan’ Richardson looking forward to crowning moment

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By Avenash Ramzan

A new chapter could be written on Guyana’s football on Saturday.

Likewise, one could come to an end with seasoned campaigner Gregory Fitzpatrick Richardson looking for a crowning moment.

The 36-year-old striker has been named in coach Michael Johnson’s squad for Guyana’s highly anticipated clash with Belize in the final round of the Concacaf Nations League at the National Track and Field Centre, Leonora.

A win for the Golden Jaguars would guarantee qualification to the Concacaf Gold Cup for the first time.

It’s a momentous occasion not just for the country at large, but for one of the nation’s most gifted players, who is cognisant his time as a professional footballer is slowly ticking to an end.

‘Jackie Chan’, as he is fondly known, spoke of the magnitude of Saturday’s match and what it means to him.

“This would be a great thing for me and a great feeling,” he told reporters during a training session on Monday at the Guyana Football Federation’s National Training Centre at Providence.

“After a long time we never do nothing like qualify for a Gold Cup, so it would be a great feeling for me you know; for working so hard since as a youngster playing soccer, make it in the MLS (Major League Soccer) and then carry my country to a Gold Cup and just resign would be a great feeling for me. You know it would feel like I win something.”

“It’s going to be time now coming to an end (for me) so I would glad for us to qualify then walk away.”

Richardson, who has been around the senior national set-up for close to two decades, scoring 16 times in 39 appearances, said the ageing body is holding up well after an intense training camp with local-based players under the supervision of Assistant Coach Charles ‘Lily’ Pollard.

“Over the last three weeks I was training hard; I was running a lot of beep tests and I was making a lot of good numbers, so the body holding up right now,” Richardson posited.

“I was in the gym; the body feeling good right now. I don’t feel good all the time- probably it could be one for this one game and it end.”

Players take a breather during training on Monday

Richardson has embraced the Federation’s ‘Wear Yellow Campaign’, as he called on his countrymen and women to fill the arena and root for the home side.

“As long as the fans come on you back you does get courage to play, especially when you home. That’s why we ask the fans to come out; when you home and fans scream for you to do good it does encourage you,” Richardson explained.

Head Coach Michael Johnson commented on having Richardson in the squad for the crucial match.

“It’s been fascinating listening to his story- when he first came in to where it is now. And he also recognises this is his moment. I’m not saying he’s going to play, but he recognises that this is his final chapter of his career as a footballer, and it’s such a fitting way for him to give back to the country- one of the country’s finest players I’m aware of. He will play a pivotal part in the change room and in the build-up with the youngsters, and I can see this story and chapter being ended on a nice note,” Johnson shared.

Guyana’s 23-member squad reads: Alex Murray, Akel Clarke, Sese Norville, Sam Cox, Elliott Bonds, Terence Vancooten, Reiss Greenidge, Ronanyne Marsh-Brown, Walter Moore, Kevin Layne, Neil Danns, Warren Creavalle, Trayon Bobb, Kadell Daniel, Clive Nobrega, Stephen Duke-McKenna, Anthony Jeffrey, Emery Welshman, Keanu Marsh-Brown, Pernell Shultz, Marcel Barrington, Gregory Richardson and Sheldon Holder.

Tickets for the match are being sold at G$1,500 at the following locations: Andrew’s Supermarket – Aubrey Barker Road, South Ruimveldt, The Guinness Bar – Durban Street, GT; West Indian Sports Complex, Robb Street; Nice Restaurante, below Space Gym, Croal Street, GT; Pegasus Hotel Guyana; KFC Outlets – Regent Street & Mandela Avenue; Dad’s Fish Shop, Den Amstel; Patsy Food Court And Bar, Linden Soesdyke Junction; The Fashion Box, Vendors Arcade, Bartica and at Giftland Mall.

Fan jerseys are also available at the Federation’s Secretariat in Campbellville, Pegasus Hotel and Giftland Mall at a cost of G$5,000. Match time is 18:30h.

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