The Guyana national football team, known as the “Golden Jaguars”, continued their preparation for their third round 2014 world qualifiers scheduled to commence in June, with a pair of fixtures against neighbours French Guiana.
The first of two back-to-back matches kicked off last evening at the Stade de Baduel stadium in the capital city of Cayenne.
These football games are a continuation of Coach Jamaal Shabaaz’s recent strategy of implementing a “Two Tier” development approach for the national team following the four-game Caribbean tour last month. In this approach, local based players who are not playing football regularly on the local scene will be tested tosee if they can break into the main squad. Simultaneously the more established foreign-based players will be keeping themselves match fit and game ready for the opening third round qualifier versus CONCACAF powerhouse Mexico on June 8 at the world famous Estadio Azteca, via constant action for their clubs around the world.
With Shabazz absent on this trip, assistant coach Wayne “Diggy” Dover is in charge of the troops and via email yesterday morning before the game, he spoke about how the preparation has gone with the team leading up to the French Guiana contest.
“The technical staff of the senior national team started preparation for these two international friendlies against French Guiana on Thursday 15th March 2012,” Dover said.
He continued: ”We commenced sessions based on instructions from the head coach (Jamaal Shabaaz) with defensive organization at the back, defense and midfield was grouped separately with the forwards working on finishing.
“On day two we continued with defensive organization integrating the defense with the midfield, forwards continued on finishing. Our next session, we integrated the strikers with the midfield along with the defense and continued the defensive organization plan.
“Finally on day three we switched to patterns in attack. We did defending set plays and attacking set plays, so we had a couple of good sessions and we’re ready for the two encounters starting from tonight (last night). But of course we’ll take it a game at a time focusing more on the game tonight which is before us,” Dover concluded.
Although the squad is predominately made up of local based players, the team welcomed back three foreign youngsters. Canada-based defender Julien Edwards and mid-fielder Kashif De Jonge along with United States born mid-fielder Brandon Beresford will join the 23-man contingent.
Edwards who is a central defender, along with right-back Taylor Benjamin plays for Canadian Soccer League side Capital City FC. They both earned their first call-ups for the national side during the now famous victory against Trinidad and Tobago at Providence last November. De Jonge, however, is making his first appearance with the senior team. Beresford on the other hand who first played for the Golden Jaguars in an international friendly against Guatemala in November 2010 is back in the national team for the first time since last year while representing the Under-23 team, as college commitments at the Graceland State University kept him out. The Guyana squad: (Goalkeepers) Richard Reynolds, Colin Edwards, (Defenders) Julian Edwards, Taylor Benjamin, Ryan Crandon, Keivin Sullivan, Kris Camacho, (Mid-fielders) Konata Mannings, Anthony Benfield, Travis Grant, Daniel Wilson, Andrew Murray, Kashif De Jonge, Brandon Beresford, (Forwards) Anthony Abrams, Devon Millington, Pernell Shultz. Coach: Wayne Dover, Manager: Mark Xavier.