By Emmerson Campbell
Barbados and Guyana football teams will clash tomorrow evening at the Providence national Stadium in the first round of the World Cup Qualifiers, the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) announced yesterday at a press conference.
At yesterday’s press conference, acting president of GFF, Franklin Wilson, welcomed the Bajan team to Guyana and stated that while he expects a competitive game the final result would be a victory for the national team, the Golden Jaguars.
The two group B teams, Trinidad and Bermuda, will be seeking victories in order to qualify for the next stage as only the top team will qualify.
Also present at the press conference was assistant coach of the Barbadian team, Thomas Jordan.
Jordan, whose team is rated 147th by FIFA, said that his team, though only 80% prepared because their practice facility was closed, was confident of a victory and will be playing for a win.
He added that his team was encamped for three months and is made up of young and energetic players who will not be playing a boring, defensive game. Jordan urged the public to come out and be entertained.
He praised the Guyanese hospitality and the condition of the ground at the National Stadium.
Meanwhile, coach of the Golden Jaguars, Jamaal Shabazz, stated that the local boys were up for the challenge that Barbados was going to bring despite the fact that the team has other challenges such as the unavailability of former national captain Howard Lowe and injuries to JP Rodriguez and Howard Newton.
Shabazz noted, however, that the national team was a blend of young, exciting players, mixed with some seasoned veterans who are poised to overcome their Bajan counterparts.
He also welcomed the availability of some overseas-based players who will be strengthening the side, including US-based Gregory ‘Jackie Chan’ Richardson and UK-based Shawn ‘Bubbly’ Beveney.
Shabazz also observed that the passion for football in Guyana was high and said that he was optimistic about Guyana’s future on the World stage.
He said that this tournament will be the turning point for football in Guyana as the team is built for the future with the youths and the talent they possess.
The national coach appealed to corporate Guyana to get more involved in the development of football, a call also echoed by Wilson.
National captain, UK-born Chris Nurse, who was also present at the briefing, stated that it was time for bigger things for football in Guyana. He added that the talent in the team was of a high quality and he expects himself and his teammates to put on a good performance not only against Barbados but against the entire group and advance to the next stage.
He also urged the public at large to come out and give support to the team and make the stadium as hostile as possible for the Barbadians as they would do the same in their home game against the Golden Jaguars.
Other persons present at the press briefing included national striker Richardson, manager of the Golden Jaguars, Mark Xavier, and Organising Secretary of GFF Aubrey ‘Shanghai’ Major.
Kick off time is scheduled for 20:00 hrs and the admission fee is $1,000 for adults while children under 12 will be admitted free.