‘Questions to be answered’ as Golden Jaguars off to Trinidad for two friendly matches

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Guyana Senior Men’s National Team Head Coach Jamaal Shabazz says the twenty-four players selected for the international friendlies against Trinidad and Tobago on May 13 and 15 impressed him during the KFC Elite League Season Six Round One and the rigorous training sessions before departure on May 11.

In a release by the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), Shabazz shared that the three goalkeepers, six defenders, eleven midfielders, and four forwards were drawn from clubs, including Guyana Defence Force FC, Slingerz FC, Guyana Police Force FC, and Santos FC because they “showed they can do well locally, so now we’re going to give them a taste of international football.”

Both matches will be at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, Trinidad, from 19:00h.

The players aim to secure their spots in the final squad for the upcoming Concacaf Qualifiers for the World Cup 2026.

“These matches are going to answer some questions for some of these boys, if they are ready for international football or not, or if they need a little more time. In my judgement, the fact that we’ve selected them, I think they are. So questions are going to be answered in terms of their performance.”

The Head Coach noted that the team has a solid blend of players with prior international experience who will provide a firm foundation alongside newcomers eager to leave their imprint on the team.

Among the roster are some recognisable figures, such as defenders Jeremy Garret and Curtez Kellman, midfielders Daniel Wilson and Leo Lovell, and forward Kelsey Benjamin.

Their contributions were integral to the Golden Jaguars’ undefeated Concacaf National League 2023\2024 campaign, which led to a historic promotion to League A, achieved alongside Trinidad and Tobago.

Head Coach Jamaal Shabazz (right) and Assistant Coach Wayne Dover

Joining the home-based players are four fresh talents with Guyanese heritage from Canada, France, and the United States who are making their debut appearances with the Golden Jaguars.

“We had four sessions, so it has gone well. The guys have been very enthusiastic. They have worked hard, been on time, and been disciplined. I can’t ask much more of them other than now to go to Trinidad with the courage and confidence that they have shown in the training.”

Golden Jaguars squad for Trinidad and Tobago

Goalkeepers: Jamaine Cumberbatch, Amari Thompson and Simon Emmanuel

Defenders: Jeremy Garret, Curtez Kellman, Quincy Adams, Colin Nelson, Kevin Layne and Cedric Osborn.

Midfielders: Leo Lovell, Bevan Baker, Terique Mohammed, Amos Ramsay, Nicolai Andrews, Ryan Hackett, Simeon Moore, Daniel Wilson, Chris Macey, Darron Niles and Solomon Austin.

Forwards: Kelsey Benjamin, Marcus Tudor, Anthony Smith and Stephen McDonald

The Golden Jaguars face a daunting path in the Concacaf Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Second Round from June 2024 to 2025 in Group D alongside Panama, Nicaragua, Montserrat and Belize.

Guyana will play four matches, evenly split between home and away fixtures in the second round, where the top two teams from each group advance.

In the third round, the twelve teams advancing from the second round will be drawn into three groups of four.

They will play double round-robin home-and-away matches, with the three group winners qualifying for the World Cup.

The two best-ranked runners-up will advance to the inter-confederation playoffs.

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