Danns among trio recalled by Shabazz for Courts Caribbean Classic


Golden Jaguars Head Coach Jamaal Shabazz has named six overseas-based players in his squad for the Courts Caribbean Classic in Trinidad and Tobago, which kicks off this weekend, with playmaker Neil Danns, former captain Sam Cox and forward Terell Ondaan returning to the fold.

The Courts Caribbean Classic will see Guyana take on Barbados on Sunday, March 27, and hosts Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday, March 29, in a three-team international friendly tournament.

The competition is designed to prepare the rivals for their forthcoming Concacaf Nations League B fixtures in June.

Golden Jaguars Head Coach, Jamaal Shabazz (News Room photo/September 17, 2021)

“Our goal in these matches is to integrate the local core from the Suriname trip with some of the overseas based,” said Head Coach Shabazz.

“We want to test the patterns of play we’ve been working on and rekindle our rivalry with Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.”

“The local based players and staff have shown tremendous commitment, rising above a few challenges,” Shabazz added.  “And the guys who have committed from overseas have my admiration.”

Former Premier League playmaker Danns has enjoyed a successful season in England with North West Counties League Premier Division champions Macclesfield, while Ondaan has been plying his trade in the top flight of Romanian football.

The squad will also feature Guyana-born Kevin Layne and Akel Clarke, from professional Jamaican side Mount Pleasant Football Academy, and Bournemouth AFC’s Nathan Moriah-Welsh.

Guyana participated in a friendly, three-team tournament with Suriname and Barbados in January, but the competition was cut short by the discovery of COVID-19 cases.

As such, the Courts Caribbean Classic will be a crucial stepping stone towards the Concacaf Nations League this year.

“Everything in these two matches is geared towards the Concacaf Nations League,” Shabazz said. “Commitment to the program is key, and the sacrifices being made now go a long way with me.”

The Golden Jaguars coach urged the Guyanese community at home and abroad, including the public and private sectors, to rally behind the squad to drive improved performances.

“The success of our work depends heavily on the kind of support we get, not just from the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), but the Government of Guyana, corporate Guyana, and our fans at home and in the diaspora,” he said.

“We look forward to the future with courage and confidence.”

GFF President Wayne Forde said the competition underlined the federation’s sustained commitment to invest in the Golden Jaguars as it seeks to chart a course to Guyana’s first appearance at a FIFA World Cup this decade.

“We look forward to seeing progress from the squad during this exciting new tournament,” Forde said.

“We know the Guyana-based players and staff have been working hard in training, and these matches will provide an opportunity for the whole squad to gel and build together for the challenge of the Concacaf Nations League in June.”

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