Eight ATC Alumni in Golden Jaguars World Cup Qualifiers squad

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Head Coach Marcio Maximo has named eight alumni of the Guyana Football Federation’s pioneering Academy Training Centre (ATC) programme in his final 23-man squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup first round qualifiers this month.

Maximo has also selected three new non-domestic players for the squad, which will play Trinidad and Tobago on March 25 and the Bahamas on March 30 in the Dominican Republic in Guyana’s first international matches since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s a strong and very competitive squad selection with a lot of energy in all areas of the field,” said Maximo. “The squad is renewed, which is a continuous cycle for us. I am very confident we can be successful and reach the second round of FIFA World Cup qualifying – this is my target and job!”

Shawn Adonis, Nicolai Andrews and Omari Glasgow – all members of the 2017 U-15 Soualiga Cup winning national youth team – join Jeremy Garrett, Ryan Hackett, Nicolas McArthur, Kelsey Benjamin and Jobe Caesar as the latest successful products of the GFF’s ATC youth development system to take the step up to the senior squad.

The squad to face Trinidad and Tobago and the Bahamas later this month

UK-based right back Miguel Scarlett, Watford defender Bayli Spencer-Adams and Bournemouth midfielder Nathan Moriah-Welsh make the final 23 for the first time, while Cambridge United goalkeeper Kai McKenzie-Lyle returns to the fold.

Domestic-based members of the squad on Wednesday departed from Ogle airport for the Dominican Republic, where they will be joined by non-domestic-based players to begin an extended training encampment.

To qualify for round two in Concacaf’s qualification process for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Guyana must top its group, which also includes St. Kitts and Nevis and Puerto Rico.

“We know Trinidad and Tobago are tough opponents,” said Golden Jaguars captain Sam Cox. “We’ve got a rich history with them. We know they’re going to offer and present a real challenge. We are preparing ourselves for that by coming into camp a couple of days earlier, just to give ourselves that extra preparation and to bond within the team. That’s going to be invaluable.”

“Then, of course, we have the Bahamas on the 30th, so we have two good fixtures that we will be looking to take wins in. We’ve got a good couple of weeks ahead of us – we just have to prepare correctly.”

Head of Recruitment Faizal Khan said the new UK-based recruits would bring further top level experience into the mix, alongside established squad members such as Callum Harriott.

“Coach Maximo giving first team call-ups to Bayli Spencer-Adams, Miguel Scarlett and Nathan Moriah-Welsh highlights the coach’s willingness to give youth a chance in competitive internationals,” said Khan.

As the squad departed for the Dominican Republic, Cox urged the nation to unite behind the Golden Jaguars as they look to begin their World Cup journey in style.

“It’s shame we couldn’t be in Guyana for the second game against the Bahamas,” he said. “It would have been great to interact with the fans, but obviously, through coronavirus, that’s not possible. We know that the fans will be there in spirit with us and we will look to do them proud as we always do.” (GFF)

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