Hinterland-focussed female U-17 team off to Concacaf Qualifiers
The Guyana U-17 female national squad will open its account in the qualifiers for the 2022 Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship this week, kicking off against Anguilla in Florida on October 28.
The 18-member squad for the qualifying tournament includes 16 Guyana-based players from across the nation, including five players from the Orealla community in Region Six, five from Georgetown and four from Region Seven.
Region One is also represented in a squad boasting a significant proportion of talent from hinterland communities.
“It’s exciting for both coaches and players to be able to once again take the pitch to do what we love after being faced with the pandemic, and it’s an honour to be a part of the progress being made in the women’s game,” said Head Coach Akilah Castello.
“Preparations have been going well,” Castello said. “I can admit that it was a challenge putting together this team to participate in this Concacaf U-17 girls’ competition, but we are happy to be able to participate and it’s always a pleasure to represent our country.”
The Concacaf qualifying tournament has been rescheduled and reconfigured on numerous occasions this year due to impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving 10 teams to compete for four places in the final championship.
The selection possibilities available to the coaching staff in Guyana have been limited by injury or illness and a lack of domestic competition over the past 18 months due to the pandemic.
As well as Anguilla, Guyana will face Honduras on October 30 and the Turks and Caicos Islands on November 1 in Group C of the qualification rounds.
The winner of each of the three groups will progress to the finals, along with the best ranked second place finisher.
“We are very excited to be participating in the U-17 Concacaf Championship,” said Paul Beresford, GFF Director of Women’s Programmes.
“This shows the commitment the Federation, the GFF International Support Group, its partners and supporters have to all age groups in the women’s national team programme.”
“Putting together this team was extremely difficult given the number of players who aged out of the team, the fact that most of our international players are in the midst of the school year, the specific age range imposed on teams by Concacaf, and missing a few critical players to injuries,” Beresford revealed.
“We look at all competitions as developmental opportunities and we will treat this one the same. Coach Akilah and her staff have been working tirelessly to prepare and we are all proud to represent Guyana and the Lady Jaguars.” (GFF)