Neil Danns “disappointed” by Golden Jaguars snub; fans outraged
By Akeem Greene
Arguably the Golden Jaguars’ premier and most experienced midfielder currently, Neil Danns, was omitted from the senior men’s football squad for their first two matches in the Concacaf Qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Guyana will play Trinidad and Tobago on March 25 and the Bahamas on March 30 in the Dominican Republic.
The squad was made public Wednesday morning by the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Public Relations team, and immediately eyebrows were raised on Danns’ omission.
The local-based players and the management staff left these shores before noon on Wednesday, and the management team opted not to officially host a press briefing to address the composition of the squad.
However, in a GFF press release to the media, Head Coach Márcio Máximo was quoted as saying: “It’s a strong and very competitive squad selection with a lot of energy in all areas of the field.”
The Brazilian added, “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!”
Since Máximo took up the post in August 2019, he has been resolute in his stance with regards to team composition, which he says “must see a balance of local and overseas talent.”
The 38-year-old Danns currently plays for Wales-based football club, Connah’s Quay Nomads, which currently heads the Cymru Premier League, and has scored nine goals in 15 appearances for the Golden Jaguars, including all three of the team’s goals at the Gold Cup in 2019.
Of this current group of players, only 29-year-old Emery Welshman, has nine goals in 16 appearances for Jaguars.
“Disappointed not to be selected for the up and coming World Cup qualifiers due to age and not performance,” Danns stated on his Facebook page.
Danns also claimed that the Head Coach was “refusing to take a call from me.”
He further expressed: “I do not wish to cause any more distractions so that is all I will say for now. I wish my brothers on the field the best of luck. I know they can do this. I’ll be wearing my Jaguars top with pride and supporting the team with you guys, much love.”
Following the squad announcement, several passionate fans and players took to social media, expressing their dismay at Danns’ omission and demanding answers from the management.
Christopher Nurse, former captain of the Golden Jaguars, expressed under Danns’ post, “The level of disrespect is unnecessary from the head coach and a disrespect to all Guyanese players but consistent with the disrespect that is continuously displayed towards players.”.
He added, “The youngsters in the squad would benefit from your presence in the team and it’s sad that they will not get to experience that. In Guyana, we are not blessed with many Neil Danns, and our failure to acknowledge and respect, that is too our own detriment.”
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.