Shabazz names 23-man squad for Concacaf Nations League opener
See below Press Release issued by the Guyana Football Federation
Guyana’s 23-member Senior Men’s National Football Team is gearing up for their first match in the 2023/2024 Concacaf Nations League Group Stage against Antigua and Barbuda with Head Coach Jamaal Shabazz expressing confidence in his team’s preparations over the last few weeks.
The squad- a mixture of 12 locally-based players and 11 international players, including crowd favourites 19-year-old Chicago Fire Football Club forward Omari Glasgow and 23-year-old Queens Park Rangers midfielder Stephen Duke McKenna- was revealed today, September 1.
Coach Shabazz chose three goalkeepers, 10 defenders, five midfielders and five forwards to kick start Guyana’s Concacaf Nations League Group Stage campaign on September 9 at the Antigua and Barbuda Technical Centre, St. John’s.
Training has been intense over the last few weeks for the players based in Guyana with the addition of South African Fitness Coach Riedoh Berdien who worked alongside Shabazz and Assistant Head Coach Wayne Dover.
“The guys at home responded well to the work put in by our staff, especially the methods employed by our Fitness Coach Riedoh Berdien,” Shabazz shared, adding that “ a couple lads fought their way into the squad”.
Following impressive performances in the recently concluded Guyana Football Federation (GFF) KFC Elite League Coach Shabazz gave the nod to midfielder Ryan ‘Boom Boom’ Hackett and defender Amos Ramsay of the Guyana Defence Force Football Club, and Santos Football Club midfielder Darron Niles.
Missing from the team are three of the most experienced players – Neil Danns who recently retired, Emery Welshman, who is in pre-retirement, and Sam Cox who has temporarily joined the Golden Jaguars coaching staff.
“This places responsibility on the likes of Omari Glasgow, Jeremy Garrett,Duke McKenna, Daniel Wilson and Elliot Bonds to show more leadership,” emphasised an unfazed Shabazz.
Guyana is in League B, Group D along with Antigua and Barbuda, Puerto Rico, and Bahamas. League B sixteen national teams are divided into four groups of four teams. Each team will play every other team in their group, home and away, for six matches per team.
The first and second-place finishers of each group will advance to the quarter-finals. With a strong squad in place to face the Antigua challenge, the Golden Jaguars are motivated and focused on advancing to the next round.
“Our ambition is to win the group so picking up points away from home against Antigua is vital. The ability to block out outside influences and pull together and gel as a team with one dream will shape the results. We face this away game with full respect to Antigua but courage and confidence in our team,” Coach Shabazz shared.
GFF encourages Guyanese at home and abroad to support the Golden Jaguars as they aim to make their mark in the CONCACAF Nations League. The match against Antigua and Barbuda starts at 15:30h.