Gold Cup: Shabazz welcomes ‘selection headache’ for Grenada clash


Though not physically present with Golden Jaguars squad since they commenced training on May 26 for the clash against Grenada in the Gold Cup Preliminaries, Head Coach Jamal Shabazz has still played an integral role in the team’s planning.

Through virtual meetings with other management staff, Shabazz has detailed the work plan and now says it is a “headache” to select the starting XI from the 23-man squad.

The Golden Jaguars face the Spice Boys at the DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday (June 17) from 21:00h.

Head Coach Jamal Shabazz (centre) is not with the team at the moment (Photo: News Room/Akeem Greene/June 1, 2022)

Speaking two days before their must-win match, Shabazz said they have an idea of the starting XI, but other factors could sway selection closer to the game.

“We discussed something on a broader-based, circling 13 to 14 players, but we are not far away. We like to say the team selects itself, and it does, based on attitude, based on form, based on injuries, and somehow or the other, it selects itself, and we are happy for the headache that we have,” the Head Coach expressed on Thursday.

The last four meetings between the two sides, which date back to 2012, are equally shared, with both sides winning and losing two. October 2017 was the last meeting in St. George’s, with the hosts winning 1-0.

Shabazz stated in light of the challenge ahead: “Grenada will be no pushover. They have, like us, players from the UK. We always had decent results against them. It is not a fear factor, but mutual respect as it will be tough for both teams and our desire to take our game to a further level.”

The Golden Jaguars had a long preparation period for this year’s Gold Cup Prelims

The Spice Boys qualified for the preliminaries, despite finishing winless against the United States of America and El Salvador in Group D of League A. On the other hand, the Golden Jaguars finished second to Haiti in Group B of League B.

The Grenadians enter this contest coming off a 1-7 defeat at home by the United States, while Guyana had a scoreless draw against Montserrat to end their Nations League campaign.

According to the FIFA rankings, as of June 12, Grenada is five places behind Guyana, which is at 170, while in CONCACAF rankings, also of June 12, they are at 25 compared to Guyana at 18.

In mid-May, the Grenada Football Association announced Terry Connor as the new Head Coach of the Senior Men’s Team.

Connor has 25 years of senior Coaching and Management experience in the Premier League, English Football League, the Republic of Ireland, and internationally in Cyprus.

Should Guyana defeat Grenada, they will play the winner of the Guadeloupe vs Antigua game for a spot in the group stage (Round-of-16) on June 20.

Success in the Round-of-16 would put the Guyanese 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 Guatemala in the preliminaries.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.