No ‘compromise’ in Golden Jaguars selection, says Forde


By Akeem Greene

No Elite League since May 2019, followed by the COVID-19 pandemic at the start of 2020 have left the core of local footballers battling for match time.

Prior to the shutdown, there were regular training sessions at the National Training Facility at Providence, East Bank Demerara, but none has happened since March.

However, come March 2021, the Golden Jaguars, Guyana’s senior national Men’s team, will be in World Cup qualification action followed by Gold Cup fixtures.

The lack of domestic football as opposed to consistent football for the overseas players, have raised discussions on the best possible combination.

Head Coach Marcio Maximo from the onset of his stint has spoken of more opportunities for local-based players.

Wayne Forde, President of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), has taken a strong stance that there will be no compromise when it comes to the selection of the senior Golden Jaguars squad for the busy and important fixtures in 2021.

GFF President Wayne Forde

“We will have some very competitive games and we want to prove to our potential sponsors, to our partners, that this brand is a brand that you can rally behind. So decisions around the composition of the team will not be a compromise; it will be decisions taken on based on goals we would have set ourselves,” he told News Room Sport.

In 2019, the first time Guyana played at the Gold Cup, they finished third in a group comprising eventual runners-up United States of America, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago. The first step to next year’s group stage in July will be a clash with Guatemala.

With regards World Cup qualification, they will face Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis, Puerto Rico and The Bahamas in the first stage.

“We are going into the CONCACAF preliminaries to qualify for the final round of 16; the decisions around the team will be to achieve that goal. We are going into the FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifier to make a very strong run to lift the profile of the Golden Jaguars brand.”

The GFF head further indicated there are numerous considerations when they enter a tournament and the obvious one which impacts decision-making is finance.

“Whenever the GFF National teams enter into a competition in the planning stage of our preparation we set clear goals as to what we want to achieve in this competition. The selection, preparation and everything we embark on is consistent with those goals that we would have set out.”

He added, “There is always a limit to the amount of money we can put into anything and we have to make good decisions about the returns that we are expecting. We will always make good, solid [and] smart decisions based on the goals we set for each tournament.”

Former Golden Jaguars players Vurlon Mills and Christopher Nurse have publicly stated the need for footballers who are currently engaged in competitive action to be the first-choice selections at least for the early stages for the tournaments.

In October, Forde had stated “six months of serious preparation or we’re in trouble” in response to preparation for the Gold Cup 2021.

The government recently allowed sport activities to resume, pending the approval of the Minister of Health.

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