Golden Jaguars confident of ‘hitting targets’- Coach Maximo
Senior Men’s National Team Head Coach, Marcio Maximo, said he is “optimistic” that Guyana will conclude round one of FIFA World Cup qualifying on a high after the squad completed a promising three-day initial encampment in Antigua.
The Golden Jaguars arrived in St. Kitts and Nevis on Wednesday ahead of matches against the host nation (June 4) and Puerto Rico (June 8) – the team’s final fixtures in Group F of Concacaf’s preliminary qualifying round.
“We have seen very high intensity in training and great commitment from the players,” said Maximo. “We are very optimistic that we can take some positive results in St. Kitts. We know it’s going to be a challenge, but everyone has high confidence about hitting our targets.”
Guyana lies in third in Group F, behind leaders St. Kitts and Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago.
The Golden Jaguars will most likely need to win their remaining matches and then hope that other results go in their favour in order to top the group and qualify for the second round.
For 2021, the Guyana Football Federation has set targets for the Golden Jaguars to reach the second round of FIFA World Cup qualification and to improve on its performance at the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup, when the team notched one point from its three group stage matches.
“We have had a strong preparation in Antigua and the players are progressing in good shape – we know the squad is going to be at 100% for both games,” said Fitness Coach Wilson Toledo.
Maximo made six changes to the squad that lost to Trinidad and Tobago and beat the Bahamas in March, with 30-year-old former England youth international Matthew Briggs taking on the captaincy for the first time.
In the earlier games in March, Guyana was due to host the Bahamas and play away to Trinidad and Tobago, but both games were shifted to the Dominican Republic, owing to the COVID-19 protocols in Trinidad at the time.
The victory over the Bahamas pushed Guyana to third on the table on three points. Trinidad and Tobago sit second on four points, while St. Kitts and Nevis lead the table with the maximum six points from two matches.
Puerto Rico (one point) and the Bahamas (zero) complete the table.
Golden Jaguars squad:
Goalkeepers: Akel Clarke (Mount Pleasant Academy), Kai McKenzie-Lyle (Cambridge United FC), Shawn Adonis (Guyana Police Force FC).
Defenders: Miguel Scarlett (Colchester United), Matthew Briggs (Vijle Boldk), Liam Gordon (Bolton Wanders FC), Nicolai Andrews (Santos FC), Bayli Spencer-Adams (Watford FC), Terence Vancooten (Stevenage FC), Kevin Layne (Mount Pleasant Academy).
Midfielders: Nathan Moriah-Welsh (Bournemouth FC), Javier George (Stade Beaucairois 30 FC), Daniel Wilson (Guyana Defence Force FC), Jobe Caesar (Guyana Defence Force FC), Marcus Wilson (Santos FC), Pernel Schultz (Guyana Police Force FC).
Forwards: Stephen Duke-McKenna (Queen’s Park Rangers FC), Keanu Marsh-Brown (Wrexham AFC), Omari Glasgow (Fruta Conquerors FC), Kelsey Benjamin (Guyana Defence Force FC), Osafa Simpson (Guyana Police Force FC), Trayon Bobb (Uitvlugt Warriors FC) and Ermey Welshman (Hapoel Raanana).