Home-based Golden Jaguars players to face T&T in friendlies ahead of World Cup qualifiers

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Guyana’s Senior Men’s National Team’s home-based contingent is preparing to face their old rivals Trinidad and Tobago this month in a pair of international friendlies for coveted spots in the final squad for the upcoming Concacaf Qualifiers for the World Cup 2026.

The May 13 and 15 matches will be played at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, Trinidad. A contingent of 24 players, fresh off competing in Round One of the KFC Elite League Season Six, will depart Guyana on May 11.

The international fixtures are a chance for players to shine both in training sessions and during match play, under the watchful eye of Golden Jaguars’ Head Coach Jamaal Shabazz and his coaching staff.

Shabazz underscored the substantial investment made between the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) and the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) to organise the games, adding that it is a chance to “expose the home-based talent and widen the international team pool.”

“Trinidad and Tobago are a formidable opponent and it will provide a clear test for the home-based players vying for spots on the final squad for FIFA World Cup qualifiers in June.”

He noted that “whether it’s football, cricket, hockey or even rugby, when Guyana plays Trinidad and Tobago we want to win.”

GFF President Wayne Forde shared that the Federation will continue to invest in enhancing the national team’s performance through consistent on-field opportunities against formidable opponents.

“Our continuous collaborations with footballing nations throughout the Caribbean, South America, and even Africa show our dedication to providing Guyanese players with valuable international playing time and competitive matchups. I am looking forward to the matches and I am confident that the players will seize this chance to earn a spot in the final squad for the upcoming Concacaf Qualifiers for the World Cup 2026.”

Guyana has a challenging journey through the Concacaf Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Second Round from June 2024 to 2025.

Positioned in Group D alongside Panama, Nicaragua, Montserrat and Belize, the Golden Jaguars face formidable opposition in their quest to play in the World Cup for the first time.

The qualification process features 32 FIFA-affiliated Concacaf Member Associations into three distinct rounds.

The initial phase featured the lowest-ranked Member Associations-Turks and Caicos Islands, British Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands, and Anguilla- based on the December 21, 2023, FIFA World Ranking.

For the Second Round, which comprises the winners of the first round and the remaining twenty-eight participating Member Associations, Guyana will play a series of four matches, evenly split between home and away fixtures.

Only the group winners and runners-up will advance to the third and final round of Qualifiers.

In the Final Round, second-round group winners and runners-up- 12 teams in total- will be divided into three groups of four teams each, and compete in a total of six home-and-away matches during the FIFA international match windows of September, October and November 2025.

The three winners will earn their place in the prestigious World Cup.

Guyana is determined to clinch one of the highly sought-after spots for direct qualification to the World Cup, standing alongside hosts Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Training for the local contingent started on May 6 at the GFF National Training Centre, Providence, East Bank Demerara.

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