It appears international football will be returning to Guyana following an absence of more than 28 months with the Saint Lucia senior team set to battle the Golden Jaguars as part of the team’s preparation for the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifiers.
According to sources close to the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Normalization Committee, the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) ranked 140th Saint Lucians have agreed to oppose the local outfit in an international friendly on March 22nd.
The match is billed for the Providence National Stadium.
The previous international friendly on local shores was held September 11th 2012 against El Salvador. At the end of the fixture, the score line read 3-2 in the favour of the visitors.
The upcoming fixture will be the seventh meeting between the two sides with Guyana recording four wins and Saint Lucia two.
The previous meeting between the two sides resulted in a 2-0 win for St. Lucia during Guyana’s Caribbean Cup 2014 campaign.
The upcoming St Lucia fixture, suggests a resuscitation of the senior programme following the Golden Jaguars’ recent international matchup against Barbados in the Land of the Flying Fish on February 1.
In that match, the 166th ranked local unit was held to a 2-2 draw with the 142nd ranked Barbadians after initially leading 2-0 during the earlier exchanges
The return leg of that international series is expected to be announced by the Normalization Committee shortly.
The aforementioned Barbados fixture was also the first outing for recently appointed head-coach Jamaal Shabazz who replaced Guyana Defence Force (GDF) tactician Denzil Thompson at the helm.
Shabazz, who was at the helm of the national setup on two previous occasions, created history when he oversaw the local unit’s record setting FIFA World Cup 2014 campaign in his previous stint.
The local side under the stewardship of the Trinidadian, qualified for the CONCACAF semi-finals of World Cup qualifying for the first time in their history.
Similarly making a return to the Golden Jaguars in his familiar role was Chris Nurse while the Canadian duo of Emery Welshman (Forward) and Jamal Smith (Defender) also made their debuts in the Barbados fixture.
Also featuring in the squad were Trinidad and Tobago trio Akel Clarke (Goalkeeper), Trayon Bobb (Midfielder) and Pernell Schultz (Forward) while the local based roster for the Barbados fixture consisted of Goalkeeper Derick Carter (Western Tigers), Defenders Chris Camacho (Alpha United), Dwain Jacobs (Slingerz FC), Joshua Browne (Slingerz FC), Colin Nelson (Slingerz FC), Solomon Austin (Western Tigers), Midfielders Eusi Phillips (Guyana Defence Force), Vurlon Mills (Slingerz FC), Clive Nobrega (Slingerz FC), Calvin Shepherd (Pele FC) and Forwards Sheldon Holder (Alpha United) and Daniel Wilson (Alpha United).
In terms of the management staff, Wayne Dover returned as the Assistant Coach while the Manager of Administration was Faizal Khan. Debita Harripersad served in the capacity of physiotherapist while Mark Xavier held the title of Operation Manager.
Anson Ambrose was the team’s trainer while Andrew Hazel and Trevor Burnett rounded out the support staff as the Goalkeeper Coach and Equipment Manager respectively.