‘We’re ready’- Coach McKinnon upbeat ahead of U-20 opener against El Salvador


Under-20 Men’s National Team Head Coach Kayode McKinnon believes his selected 21-member squad is well-prepared to face their first challenge in the Concacaf Championship Qualifiers against El Salvador on February 25 in Antigua and Barbuda.

McKinnon revealed his team earlier this week following a rigorous month of training at the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) National Training Centre in Providence, East Bank Demerara.

The Junior Golden Jaguars roster comprises a blend of former Under-15 national players, local talents who took part in the 2023 NAMILCO Under-17 National Academy Playoffs, and players based in both Trinidad and the United States.

“We’re happy with our decision,” McKinnon said, adding that he chose “players that are ready to take on this challenge that is ahead of us.”

The head coach’s first team selection since assuming the position in 2023 includes:

Coach McKinnon explained that his evaluation considered the “physical traits crucial for competing at this level,” taking into account players’ game knowledge, as well as their competitiveness, honesty and humility.

Over 40 young participants attend the training camp, which featured two assessment games between Elite League teams- the reigning champions Guyana Defence Force, and the former champions Slingerz.

National Under-20 Football Head Coach, Kayode McKinnon

“We believe that it’s an honest process. It was one (in) which we saw the players giving their best and wanting to represent the country, wanting to do well for the country, and that only created a healthy environment and a competitive one that will only do well for Guyana now and in the future,” McKinnon shared.

The tournament features 27 Under-20 national teams vying for supremacy between February 23 to March 2.

Guyana finds itself in Group B, alongside El Salvador, Antigua and Barbuda, Suriname, and Turks and Caicos Islands.

Following the round-robin stage, the Junior Golden Jaguars must clinch the top spot in Group B to advance to the 2024 Concacaf Men’s U-20 Championship, where they will join the six pre-seeded top-ranked nations.

The opening clash against Antigua and Barbuda is set to kick off at 09:30h in the ABFA Technical Centre in Antigua. (GFF)

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