Gold Cup: Golden Jaguars hunting for another spot on the big stage
In senior football, Guyana and Guadelouple have met on five occasions, with the Guyanese unbeaten thus far with three wins and the other two games ending in a draw.
The last time these two nations played against each other was 2012, and they meet again today (June 20) from 16:30h at the DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale in another winner takes all encounter.
The equation is quite simple: the winner advances to the Group Stage of the Concacaf Gold Cup and the loser goes home.
‘Les Gwada Boys’ are now looking to advance to the group stage for a fifth time overall and second consecutive occasion, while Guyana’s Golden Jaguars are aiming to make the main draw for only the second time.
In 2010, a 1-1 draw with Guyana meant Guadeloupe progressed to the Gold Cup a year later ahead of Guyana based on goal difference.
Will they be the Achilles heel to Guyana’s progression again?
Speaking at the pre-match press conference, Assistant Coach Wayne Dover noted, “We came from a difficult match on Saturday, and we all know coming up against Guadeloupe it will be a tougher outing, and while many people rely on the history of the game, the history of the game is one thing, but it is the day in question.”
Due to visa issues hampering the physical presence of Head Coach Jamaal Shabazz with the squad in the US, Dover is leading the charges on the ground.
He added: “We have to look at that situation and try to do our best. We will try to play as a team as we did against Grenada, take our chances, and come away with a victory.”
To add further context to what awaits the Golden Jaguars is a more rested opposition. Guadeloupe played an under-prepared Antigua and Barbuda team and dominated 5-0 on June 16 in a match that started at 16:30h.
More so, it was sweltering hot, and the match required water breaks, but as it stands, it could be an overcast afternoon.
When Guyana played Grenada, the match was initially set to start at 21:00h, but only got underway at 22:30h due to inclement weather. That change in timing chipped into much-needed recovery time for a side that will face a stern test of skills for some of the ageing legs in the Jaguars’ squad.
Guyana won 5-3 on penalties against Grenada after the match was locked 1-1.
While there has been no official word from the team management, based on television coverage, some players, such as Trayon Bobb and Emery Welshman, seem a bit doubtful for today’s encounter.
According to Daniel Wilson, who calmly struck the winning penalty in the shootout against Grenada: “Against Grenada, it was more about getting the job done and focusing on the next game against Guadeloupe. Being on the big stage, I can tell the players are ready to give more against Guadeloupe. Every day is a different game, and we are not taking the opponent lightly.”
If success comes for the Golden Jaguars, who have been preparing for these two preliminaries since May 26, they will book a spot in Group D alongside Canada, Guatemala, and Cuba.
Their first match would be on June 27 at the BMO Field in Toronto.
In 2019, Guyana made history by qualifying for the prestigious tournament for the first time since it started in 1991 and finished third in Group D, which consisted USA, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago.