U-16 Boys lose opening UEFA game to Bosnia and Herzegovina

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The Guyana Boys’ Under-16 National Team fought valiantly, but ultimately lost against a physical and more experienced host side in the first match of the UEFA Assist friendly tournament in Bosnia and Herzegovina on Tuesday.

The match, Guyana’s first appearance at a European international competition at any level, revealed the differences between the standard of youth football in the Caribbean and Europe, with a strong Bosnia and Herzegovina team eventually running out 9-1 winners.

The Junior Jaguars will be aiming to take lessons from the defeat and to show improvement in their next fixtures against Lithuania and Montenegro in the unique development tournament that is designed to build bridges across cultures, and drive knowledge exchange and improvements in youth football.

“We played against the home team today and we already knew they were a superior team,” said Head Coach Vurlon Mills.

“But I must commend my players for their strength, desire and the passion they showed in the way they played. I’m very proud of how we played today. As I said before, the result was not important, but how we played as a team – and we performed well with a good general understanding.”

“Our aim is August, with the Concacaf Under-17 Championship qualifiers,” said Coach Mills.

“We are working on how we press the ball collectively, and we can only build on that. In a few weeks, going into our preparations for the qualifiers, they can only get better at it and it will be impossible to penetrate.”

Christopher Whitter, a second half substitute, put away Guyana’s only goal – the first scored by a Jaguars in a European tournament.

“When I was on the bench, I watched how they played and when they made a wall they left always the middle always on, so when the ball playing now, I pushed and got the header and scored,” Witter said.

“It felt great!” Defender Kvist Paul said the team played with a “great manner” and has started to develop a better understanding of each other.

“Playing in Europe for the first time, I think we’ve done great,” Paul said.

“From my perspective, I feel I put my best and I’m keen to see what we can do in the next match.”

Guyana play Montenegro on Thursday, April 21, and Lithuania on Sunday, April 24. GFF Assistant Technical Director Bryan Joseph thanked UEFA Assist for facilitating Guyana’s participation in the competition and said the experience would hopefully open doors for more teams from Guyana and the Caribbean to participate in future competitions.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity for the development of our young players – UEFA Assist agreeing to bring us out here and to have the opportunity to play against European teams,” Joseph said. “The boys have really taken to it,” he said.

“I am excited about what this level of competition can do for the growth and development of the players. We want to be able to do this on an annual basis with other youth teams – to get this experience and to see what football in Europe is like.” (GFF)

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