Guyana will commence the historic journey to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil when they tackle Barbados tonight at the National Stadium at Providence.
Both sides come into this qualifier with victories in “friendly” matches in recent weeks. Guyana ranked 116th in the world, overcame India 2-1 in a tight encounter, while Barbados ranked 147th defeated St. Lucia 4-0 in Bridgetown.
Guyana will hope, however, that having a better ranking is a prelude to their success, especially since the Bajans are weakened by the absence of a majority of their foreign-based players.
Senior defender Emmerson Boyce who plays for English premier league side Wigan Athletic did not travel along with a host of regulars who play in the lower English leagues such as Jon Nurse, Jonathan Forte, Mark McCammon and Louis Soares. According to coach Colin Forte the Barbados Football Federation sent the release letters to those respective clubs too late.
The locals also have a few missing players in former national captain Howard Lowe, JP Rodrigues who was ruled out due to injury a few days ago while playing for club Miami FC, and Howard Newton.
The game apparently will be decided on the basis of which team has the better depth to cope with the effect of missing squad members.
Speaking to Stabroek Sport during the team’s final training session last evening at the stadium at Providence, Barbados head coach Forte simply echoed the statements by his colleague Thomas Jordan in the press conference on Wednesday. He reiterated that his team is probably just about 80 percent prepared coming into this encounter since the facilities were unavailable back home, but he hopes the three month encampment they had prior to that will hold the team in good stead for today’s game.
Kick off time is 20:00 hrs. Admission is $1,000 for adults while children under 12 will be admitted free.
The Guyana team will come from Chris Nurse (captain), Ronson Williams, Vurlon Mills, Walter Moore, Dwain Jacobs, Ryan Crandon, Kayode McKinnon, Gregory “Jackie Chan” Richardson, Shawn “Bubbly” Beveny, Travis “Zorro” Grant, Anthony “Awo” Abrams, Trayon Bobb, Christopher Bourne, Chris Nurse, Jake Newton, Adrian Butters, Akel Clarke, Anthony Benfield, Eusi Phillips, Denroy Fraser, Richard Reynolds, Keivin Sullivan, Devor Dennis. The coach is Jamal Shabbaz.
Bajan players will be chosen from Barry Skeete (captain), Jason Soxill, Jason Lovell, Carl Joseph, Dwayne Marks, Kyle Gibson, Mario Harte, Louis Mss, Jonathan Straker, Omar Archer, Renaldo Marques, Norman Forde, Kadeem Atkins, Craig Worrell, Jon Nurse and Riviere Williams. The coach is Colin Forte.