Shabazz urges corporate Guyana to support Concacaf Nations League journey

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The Senior Men’s National Team will depart for a training encampment in Trinidad and Tobago on Friday to prepare for the restart of the Concacaf Nations League, with crunch matches against Montserrat, Bermuda and Haiti scheduled for June.

Head Coach Jamaal Shabazz has selected a 31-man preliminary squad to train and participate in two practice matches in Trinidad before a final 26-man group is chosen for the Golden Jaguars’ opening match in League B against Montserrat on June 4 in the Dominican Republic.

Guyana then plays home fixtures against Bermuda on June 7 and Haiti on June 11, followed by a return match against Haiti in the Dominican Republic on June 14.

The winner of the group, in League B of the Nations League, will automatically qualify for the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup.

“It’s a really interesting moment for us in Guyana’s football, going into the Nations League,” said Coach Shabazz.

“Since January, we have been preparing, coming off the back of a magical end of year tournament. The players have worked very hard, the players based locally. The standard has been set that we are really committed to the effort.” “Bermuda, Montserrat and Haiti are all tough opponents,” Shabazz continued.

“It’s not a case where we zero in on one opponent and it’s about this opponent – we look at each opponent very seriously.”

Shabazz commended the Guyana-based contingent – both players and staff – for the sacrifices they have made in the Golden Jaguars’ preparations so far, and praised the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) for ensuring the team had access to plenty of match time this year.

“To get matches against Suriname in Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados in Trinidad, and the two matches in Cayenne – all away matches – and to be able to take at minimum a squad of 22 players on each occasion is a coach’s dream,” he said.

“I’m satisfied that the Federation has made a tremendous effort to get us here, and now we’ve got to look to the other stakeholders.” He asked corporate Guyana to come on board to help offset the costs of the tournament, and urged the general public to rally behind the team as one nation. “We want the whole nation to start this journey with us,” he said.

“It is indeed a journey because it is not a national team that will come out of the group, but a country – it’s called the Concacaf Nations League. It is a nation that will come out of the group, and a nation is not some of the people, it is all of the people.”

GFF President Wayne Forde said the team was approaching the tournament with “a good level of confidence … thanks to the good work” of Coach Shabazz.

“I want to say to our players that we are very pleased with the commitment that you have shown in these preparations,” President Forde said. “We’ve added new expertise to our coaching staff and we are seeing dividends from those investments. I believe the nation can rally behind the team, and I have every confidence that Guyana will perform very well in this edition of the Concacaf Nations League.”

Within the preliminary squad, there are recalls for Anthony Jeffrey, Marcel Barrington, Emery Welshman and Stephen Duke-McKenna.

Golden Jaguars preliminary squad:

Goalkeepers: Alex Murray, Quillan Roberts, Sese Norville, Akel Clarke

Defenders: Marcus Wilson, Quincy Adams, Jaylen Jones, Jeremy Garrett, Kevin Layne, Matthew Briggs, Leo Lovell, Shemar Fraser, Sam Cox

Midfielders: Daniel Wilson, Nathan-Moriah Welsh, Clive Nobrega, Job Caesar, Curtez Kellman, Javier George, Neil Danns

Forwards: Trayon Bobb, Marcel Barrington, Kelsey Benjamin, Jamal Perriera, Terell Ondaan, Ryan Hackett, Pernell Schultz, Anthony Jeffrey, Omari Glasgow, Emery Welshman, Stephen Duke McKenna

Match schedule

Saturday, June 4 – Montserrat v Guyana– 19:30h

Venue: Felix Sanchez Stadium, Dominican Republic

Tuesday, June 7 – Guyana v Bermuda– 16:00h  

Venue: National Track and Field Facility, Leonora

Saturday, June 11 – Guyana v Haiti– 16:00h

Venue: National Track and Field Facility, Leonora

Tuesday, June 14 – Haiti v Guyana– 18:00h

Venue: Felix Sanchez Stadium, Dominican Republic

March 25, 2023 – Bermuda v Guyana

Venue: Hamilton, Bermuda

March 28, 2023 – Guyana v Montserrat

Venue: Guyana

Following the round-robin group stage play, the League A group winners and runners-up (eight teams) and the League B group winners (four teams) will guarantee their participation in the 17th edition of the Gold Cup.

Furthermore, 12 other teams will have an opportunity to qualify for the tournament via the Gold Cup Prelims. The Prelims will include the participation of the League A third-place finishers (four teams), the League B second-place finishers (four teams), and the League C group winners (four teams).

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