Unprepared players make Golden Jaguars chances of progressing slender, says Nurse

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By Akeem Greene

Former Golden Jaguars Captain, Christopher Nurse, has added to the discussion on the best formula to select players to Guyana’s senior national Men’s football squad for a busy 2021 campaign.

The Golden Jaguars now know of the pathway they would have to take to qualify to the group stage of their second Gold Cup and their opponents in the Concacaf qualifiers for FIFA World Cup 2022.

The coronavirus pandemic has seriously affected some of the smaller nations within Concacaf and their ability to properly prepare. In Guyana’s context, there has been no Elite League since May 2019.

Due to the fluid issue of COVID-19 in Guyana, it seems improbable it will resume prior to the World Cup Qualifiers in March or the Gold Cup preliminaries in July 2021.

Former Golden Jaguars captain Christopher Nurse (Photo: Stabroek News)

With the various precautionary measures in place, local players have been void of training sessions and matches, thereby putting them at a disadvantage when compared to their overseas counterparts, some of whom have resumed competitive action, and are vying for spots in the squad.

According to Nurse, the logical option would be to select players who are prepared and have access to match practice.

“There is going to be a balance where if you use a lot of international players who have been getting minutes and training daily, because in the United States [and Europe] everyone is training normally unlike many Caribbean countries,” Nurse told News Room Sport in a recent interview.

“So when it comes to selection, the best thing is to try and stay longer in the tournament; if that means using a large contingent of overseas players to remain in the tournament and hopefully at that point, the restrictions open up and local players can resume training and potentially playing games and we are still in the tournament, there is an opportunity for them to be included. If we go a policy where we give unprepared players a chance to compete, our chances at progressing become slender.”

Nurse, who played during the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, the furthest Guyana has been in the qualifiers, explained that nothing trumps match practice. Majority of the overseas-based players have resumed playing club football.

“Make no mistake, there is no replication for any kind of training besides matches, so players who have been training and playing matches are going to be in a far better position to compete and be successful in those international fixtures than those who just have been training themselves.”

Golden Jaguars Head Coach Márcio Máximo has explicitly stated in the past, he will ensure more local-based players are given spots in the Golden Jaguars squad.

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