The Guyana National Football team secured a 2-0 win over French Guiana in the final match of their -back-to-back fixtures at the Stade de Baduel stadium on Thursday evening.
The Jaguars, who lost the opening encounter 1-0 on Wednesday evening, got their two goals via two second half strikes from striker Anthony “Awo” Abrams and mid-fielder Brandon Beresford.
Abrams scored first converting his shot from close range in the box, as he took advantage of some loose French Guiana defending via a corner kick.
Then 19-year old United States based mid-fielder Beresford, who has only just returned to the squad after being unavailable due to college commitments, scored with audacious shot that chipped the opposition goal-keeper as he charged out.
These football games are a continuation of Coach Jamaal Shabaaz’s strategy of implementing a “Two Tier” development approach for the national team following the four (4) game Caribbean tour last month.
In this approach, local based players who are not playing football regularly on the local scene will be tested to see if they 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 n June 8th at the world famous Estadio Azteca, via constant action for their clubs around the world.
Assistant coach Wayne “Wiggy” Dover who took up the mantle in leading the team in absence of Shabazz during those two games, speaking to the media yesterday said:“The two games have been a good learning experience and exposure for the local based players. It is something that was needed a very long time ago given the lack of consistent league system in Guyana to keep the players match ready ahead of international matches.”
He continued: “When one looks at what happened during the friendly games in the Caribbean in February and these two matches, I would say at this early stage of the strategy, things are progressing at a satisfying rate. The players in this system are playing with good cohesion and going forward I can only expect to see better results.
Dover went onto highlight he felt one of the big factors responsible for the opening game defeat was the travelling.
“The travelling in my view affected the way the team played in the first game for sure. When we arrived in French Guiana, we had to cut short the length of the training sessions because the players were not responding understandably. Thus in the first game a lot of mistakes made was down to us not being able fine tune the tactics well enough in the game.
“However, after a slight pool recovery after the opening defeat, I thought the team rebounded very well in the second game, they played much as a unit”, Dover recounted.
Dover also made special mentioned to the two goal-scorer and defender Julien Edwards for their performances the 2-0 victory.
“Brandon has been on the national radar for a while and I thought he was great. I made the decision to switch from the central midfield position he took up in the first game and moved him to left-midfield role and his pace and movement on the wing really had the French Guiana full-back busy and his goal capped off a very good return to the national setup”, Dover stated of Beresford.
When asked if he thought the young mid-fielder had done enough to force a potential inclusion in the main squad, Dover said this.
“Beresford and all the young players have a lot of work to break into the first team squad that is fairly settled at the moment. Getting au fait with the tactical understanding of the team is a bit difficult to do in just two games, but they have time”.
“Edwards was outstanding in defense also. He has to wait to get his chance to play for the national team after he did very well in the last Kashif and Shanghai tournament when he came down from Canada to play for Pele FC and he translated that during these two games”.
He concluded by stating: “Defense is a area where the team has some strong options in Charles Pollard, Leon Cort, John Paul “JP” Rodrigues and Colin Nelson. We don’t select players on names – but on form and Julien if he keeps this form up has done his future chances of making a step up no harm.
Photo Caption: Wayne Dover, Brandon Beresford, Anthony Abrams, Julien Edwards