Focused Golden Jaguars not distracted by physical absence of Head Coach Shabazz- Dover
The Golden Jaguars remain steadfast in their preparation for the Gold Cup preliminary match on June 17, despite the physical absence of Head Coach Jamaal Shabazz in the preparatory camp.
The camp started May 26 in Kingston, Jamaica, and moved to Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, from June 5 to June 14.
Shabazz is still to join the squad because his passport is in the local embassy, potentially awaiting approval to travel.
The Trinidad-born was reappointed Head Coach in September 2021, making it his fourth installment in the role.
Due to legal issues, Shabazz did not have a US Visa at the time of reappointment. In the past, he did not travel with the team to the United States of America.
However, his deputy, Wayne Dover, says the off-field issue is no distraction and that the Head Coach has still planned and advised of the carefully constructed and detailed training sessions in the preparation period.
“In the absence of the Head Coach, I am very much comfortable because I am not a stranger to being in a position leading the Golden Jaguars. The good thing is that the absence of the Head Coach is only physical, and we are going as staff to execute our job,” the Assistant Coach told media operatives at a virtual press conference on Friday.
Dover is a former Head Coach of the Jaguars, having served from 2009-2010 and then again in 2017.
The final 23-man squad is “expected to be named soon,” and Dover feels all players are “fighting” to make the final cut.
He is satisfied with the increased fitness levels of players.
Commenting on the realistic expectation for the Grenada clash, he said, “The expectation is to come out on top on the 17th, and we will do everything in our power as coaches and a group to achieve best those results, which is our ultimate aim as we prepare for that.”
As a precursor to facing Grenada on June 17 from 21:00h at the DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the Jaguars will battle Martinique in a friendly match on Saturday, June 10 from 18:30h in Palm Beach Gardens.
Golden Jaguars qualified for the CONCACAF Gold Cup Prelims following a runner-up finish to Haiti in Group C of League B in the 2022/20223 edition of the Nations League.
Should Guyana defeat Grenada, they will play the winner of Guadalupe vs Trinidad and Tobago on June 20 for a spot in the group stage (Round-of-16).
Success would put them in the main Group D draw alongside Canada, Guatemala, and Cuba.
In 2019, Guyana created history by qualifying for the group stage of the Gold Cup for the first time since the competition started in 1991, while in 2021, they lost 0-4 to Guadalupe in the preliminaries.