The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) says that they are unsure whether the national football team known as the Golden Jaguars will participate in the upcoming Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Caribbean Cup qualification tournament in May in the Cayman Islands.
This disclosure was made by a high ranking official of the GFF.
The national side’s last engagement was a 4-3 defeat of French Guiana on November 18 in the second round
of the 2012 edition of the Caribbean Cup championships in Grenada.
The win had no bearing on Guyana’s chances of advancing further into the tournament as they had already been eliminated.
Since then the Golden Jaguars have not played in any tournament or friendly engagement and there is every likelihood that that trend will continue until the Christopher Matthias-led administration puts some structure in place for Guyana’s football development.
At the moment the GFF is without a Technical Director and a Head Coach following the departure of Trinidad’s Jamaal Shabazz who served in both capacities. With international competition for the senior national team a distant memory it is no wonder that Guyana’s FIFA ranking has slid to a humbling 150th position out of the 207-ranked nations some 72, 70 and 27 positions respectively behind traditional rivals Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Suriname in the latest rankings.
In November of 2010, Guyana had achieved its best ever ranking of 86 but it has been all downhill since then as the battle between the Georgetown Football Association (GFA) and the GFF under then president Colin Klass took centre stage.
Matters took a turn for the worse when Klass and general secretary Noel Adonis were banned by FIFA after being caught in the middle of cash-for-votes scandal which resulted in former FIFA vice presidents Jack Warner and Mohammed bin Hammam being ousted from their positions.
A FIFA team eventually visited Guyana to break the deadlock which existed between the GFA and the GFF paving the way for new elections of the GFF which saw the GFF presidency held by Klass’s tentacle like grip being loosened and Matthias becoming the new GFF president.
Under Klass a number of Golden Jaguars players including former skipper Christopher Nurse had stated publicly that they will not represent Guyana again until the situation got better.
Rising Golden Jaguars star player and midfield dynamo Vurlon Mills in an invited comment yesterday said that the fact that the national team has not played a match in some 14 months was not good for the sport’s development.
“It is very poor for football development that we haven’t played international football for 14 months since we did so well in FIFA World Cup qualifiers,” said Mills.
“I think we should participate in the tournament because everyone looking at Guyana as one of the top teams in the Caribbean and we should go and reclaim our status as one of the top teams in the region,” he added.
Mills also weighed in on the issue of the national coach.
“I think we should identify a national coach as soon as possible and have a core of players in training so that anytime a tournament commences, we already have a team ready to compete.
“We need more international matches and Guyana, being an unrecognized team, has proved itself to the World during the Qualifiers. Not playing international matches has hampered our status on whether we can stay as one of the top teams in the Caribbean,” added Mills.
The Matthias administration has inherited a multi-million dollar debt upon entering office in April of last year and the GFF is also looking at the possibility of finally getting its Goal Project up and running.