Golden Jaguars face stern Haiti test on Saturday at Leonora
A win, or at minimum a draw, will significantly increase Guyana’s chance of topping Group B in League B of the Concacaf Nations League, which will secure an automatic berth to next year’s Concacaf Gold Cup.
However, that is easier said than done as Haiti, a 1974 World Cup qualifier, is one of the most formidable units in Concacaf.
The Golden Jaguars started their Nations League campaign in impressive fashion, racking up back-to-back 2-1 victories against Montserrat and Bermuda, which means they sit at the top of the group at this early stage.
They now come up against a Haitian side that has four points from the opening two matches. The Haitians were held to a goalless draw in Bermuda before an entertaining 3-2 victory against Montserrat.
For this contest, starting at 16:00h on Saturday, June 11, at the National Track and Field Centre at Leonora, Guyana and Haiti appear relatively evenly matched, but history favours the Haitians who have never been beaten by the South American opponent.
“This is a huge game for us since Guyana has never beaten Haiti, so this provides an opportunity for us to beat a Caribbean giant. Of course, we have to work hard and it is not going to be in any way an easy match but I can say, where we lack in the quality, we will make in playing with a big heart and strong desire,” Golden Jaguars Head Coach Jamaal Shabazz said on Friday.
18-year-old Omari Glasgow with three goals in two matches, and Trayon Bobb (one goal) have led the Jaguars attacking side, while Quincy Adams has been rock solid at the back.
Statistically, Guyana has tallied 14 goals in their previous seven matches, including these two Nations League clashes, at an impressive rate of two goals per fixture.
On the defensive end, the Guyanese have conceded eight times.
On the other end, Ricardo Adé, Haiti’s star defender and captain, will miss the next two games versus Guyana because he does not have the required visa, according to Haiti Tempo.
Haiti’s Les Grenadiers last played in the Dominican Republic on June 7 and travelled from there to Guyana two days later for this encounter.
However, Adé does not have the appropriate visa to travel between the Dominican Republic and Guyana.
“Sorry because I won’t be there to fight with you guys on the field,” Adé tweeted on June 9.
Following the clash on Saturday, Golden Jaguars head to the Dominican Republic for the return fixture on June 14.
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).