Golden Jaguars up prep for Concacaf Nations League

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The Senior Men’s National Team resumed training at the weekend at the Guyana Football Federation National Training Centre after a strong performance in the Courts Caribbean Classic, with Head Coach Jamaal Shabazz focused on ensuring the squad is well prepared for the Concacaf Nations League in June.

Coach Shabazz while pleased with his team’s performances against Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados in the friendly tournament last weekend, was “not getting carried away”.

A fluent and energetic Guyana side, largely drawn from domestic-based players, thumped Barbados 5-0 and held hosts Trinidad and Tobago to an entertaining 1-1 draw, making a statement of intent ahead of June’s League B matches.

“We are happy to see things taking shape, but we have a lot more work to put in for the Concacaf Nations League,” Shabazz said, explaining that a much-needed team building process was well underway.

UK-based veterans Neil Danns and Sam Cox made a sensational return to the fold, while Romania-based Terell Ondaan, AFC Bournemouth’s Nathan Moriah-Welsh and the Jamaica Pro League’s Kevin Layne and Akel Clarke completed the overseas contingent.

Forward Omari Glasgow, one of the stars of the tournament, has also just signed professional papers with Chicago Fire II.

Captain Daniel Wilson, Trayon Bobb, Quincy Adams, Clive Nobrega and Jeremy Garrett were among the domestic-based players who also excelled during the tournament.

“In the two games in Trinidad, the most important achievement was getting overseas and locally based players on the same page,” he said.

“They gelled really well. We drove home the point that it’s not about where we were born as Guyanese, but who we are and whom we represent.”

Shabazz believes that the understanding of who the players are and who they represent is vital to the success of the project.

“Marcus Garvey said as a tree without roots is dead, so too is a people without knowledge of their roots, history, and culture,” he said. “Everyone played their hearts out: a reflection that they value the opportunity to represent Guyana.”

The Trinidad-born Shabazz was also high in praise for his technical staff, which included Assistant Coach Wayne Dover, former national captain turned coach Charles Pollard and Dylan Palmer, a strength and conditioning coach from Coventry in England.

“The staff has shown tremendous commitment and passion,” he said. “Trainer Dylan Palmer has been a great addition, and the players are getting stronger and fitter under him.”

Shabazz says he plans to engage the Golden Jaguars in further friendly matches before June. The draw for the Concacaf Nations League takes place on April 4.

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