‘Fourth Coming’: Jamaal Shabazz returns as Golden Jaguars Head Coach
For an unprecedented fourth time, Jamaal Shabazz of Trinidad and Tobago has been appointed Head Coach of Guyana’s senior national Men’s football team, the Golden Jaguars.
Shabazz was announced on Friday as the man in charge of the country’s flagship team, replacing Brazilian Marcio Maximo, who amicably parted ways with the Guyana Football Federation following the conclusion of the Concacaf Gold and World Cup Qualifiers in July.
Shabazz had previous stints with national team from 2005 to 2009, 2011 to 2012 and 2015 to 2016.
He recently stepped down as the Head Coach of the St. Lucia Men’s national football team after appointment in 2019.
Shabazz was spotted by News Room Sport in late August at the National Stadium, Providence.
And on Friday, the coach reflected on his trials of the past in accessing quality facilities, which he contended has transformed in Guyana, and will significantly aid his new efforts, as he hopes a collective effort occurs to take the sport forward.
Apart from the Academy Training Centres in each member association, the GFF has its National Training Facility at Providence, which has the capacity to house players. It also has an all-weather pitch.
“The journey to achieve success this time around is a collective one,” the coach stated.
He noted that those partners will be the GFF, Government, Corporate Guyana along with fans in Guyana and within the diaspora, along with the media.
“Always in the Caribbean we think it is a team and a coach, but rightly put by Mr. [Wayne] it [takes] a nation,” Shabazz added.
President of Guyana Football Federation, Wayne Forde, said they have key criteria for a new coach since the ultimate aim is the expanded World Cup in 2026.
Among the key criteria was a candidate in delivering results in the Concacaf region; someone with a steadfast focus on continuing the work to develop home-based talent, and knowledge of Guyana, its football landscape, its culture and its diaspora.
In 2018, Shabazz received the GFF’s Presidential Award for being Guyana’s most successful national team Head Coach, as he took Guyana to its highest FIFA rank ever – 86 – in 2010. Jaguars are now ranked 174 by FIFA.
Additionally, Sport Minister Charles Ramson Jr. revealed that the government is supporting the GFF by providing accommodation and a vehicle during his tenure.
Ramson Jr. said he strongly believes the current federation is very interested in moving the sport forward, which is aligned to the Ministry’s plans.
It understood that apart from the possibility of friendly matches, Golden Jaguars will resume action in March for the Concacaf Nations League.