Inspirational head coach of the Golden Jaguars team Jamaal Shabbaz has called on the Guyanese public to put the elections results behind them and unite as a nation around the national football team.
At a press conference organised by the Kashif and Shanghai (K&S) organization at the Princess Hotel Thursday afternoon, the Trinidadian expressed his opinions on the state of the country and football since he left here after the historic November 11th evening when Guyana defeated the Soca Warriors 2-1 at Providence Stadium during their recent successful second round 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
“On November 11th in the height of the election season, Guyanese put away their political beliefs, racial undertones and social status, came out and supported the efforts of the Golden Jaguars,” said Shabazz.
The result was the team achieved a great victory, which benefited the team as they progressed for the first time in the team’s football history, advanced to the third stage of the WCQs,” Shabbaz said forcefully.
He continued: “So now why after the election I am at a loss why people can’t buckle down and serve in the interest of the country? It really pains me to see this, especially after all the sacrifices we have made in the football fraternity, that the nation can be so divided when they have the efforts of the football team to fill the nation with excitement.
“This is a real sour point for me and as far as I see it until the nation can put the election results behind them, the people and football will lose out, since qualifying for a football World Cup is one of the greatest feelings a national can have.
I saw this in Trinidad in 2006 and Jamaica in 1998,” Shabbaz highlighted emotionally.
Shabbaz will be coaching the Trinidad side Caledonia AIA when they begin their participation in the ongoing K&S tournament with a game on Christmas Day versus NA United.
Meanwhile, he also disclosed that the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) has notified him that they will be making a final decision on December 28 on whether his loan agreement as coach with the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) will continue. However he suggested that regardless of that decision, especially if it is not positive, Guyana’s dream of qualifying for the 2014 does not end with him.
“As most are aware by now although I am under contract by the TTFF until December 21st 2012, they loaned me back before the second round qualifiers to Guyana mainly because they didn’t think the Jaguars had much of chance of qualifying.
“However now since the events of November 11th, they have made me two very good offers to stay within the TTFF, but in return I have made them two good offers to possibly stay with the TTFF and coach the Guyana team, since I see both countries as my home and as a Muslim according to the Koran we can have two wives, so I don’t see why I can’t do both roles,” Shabbaz joked.
“But regardless of what decision they make, the dream does not end with me. Many people such as the K&S organization, Odinga Lumumba, GFF, Georgetown Football Association (GFA) played a big role in the team reaching this far.”
“World Cup football is a battle and it’s not just a team or coach that will come out of this, but the country of Guyana.”
Finally Shabbaz gave his views on why he feels Guyana can use its current parliamentary situation in the post-election period to be an example to the rest of the Caribbean.
“I have heard many people say since elections that nothing will be achieved due to the parliamentary division, but I disagree. I think it’s a great opportunity for the politicians to work in the interest of the people, by approving what is beneficial and disapproving what is negative. That would certainly set a great example to other regional countries,” Shabbaz concluded.