CONCACAF Nations League qualifiers…
– Pollard on board as Assistant Coach
The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) is moving full steam ahead with preparations for its final CONCACAF Nations League match against Belize on March 23, 2019 as the Federation has released a 26-man Guyana-based Golden Jaguars squad that has been shortlisted, at the Leonora Track and Field Facility.
The squad includes three goalkeepers, eight defenders, six midfielders and nine forwards who have been shortlisted from an initial 35-man squad that has been in training for the last two weeks.
Former national defender Charles Pollard, who has been appointed Assistant Coach and has been working with the team, said the shortlisted squad was solid while noting “players being able to perform at a high level under instruction” was among the criteria used for selection.
The team will be engaged in an eight-week weekly training programme before the final squad is announced to engage Belize. Pollard said that the time should be good to enable the team to be in shape for final selection.
“In the next eight weeks, it will give everyone a level playing field and an equal chance to make the final 23. Fitness, developing their football IQ, awareness and tactical soundness will be the focus,” the former national player stated.
For his part, Pollard was happy to be back in the national setup and contributing to football development in Guyana: “I’m excited to go work with the team; it’s a very good group of guys. I will share all the knowledge that I’ve got. They are very excited to be part of the programme, so I’m looking forward to a good eight-week preparation and, at the end of the preparation, the best guys will be selected.”
Meanwhile, Head Coach Michael Johnson is expected to arrive in Guyana this Friday for an initial nine-day visit to participate in the national team’s training, and plan for the match against Belize. While here, he is also scheduled to view the GFF Elite League Play-offs scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, the GFF-Pele Alumni Frank Watson U-15 Inter-Association Tournament finals, and the Golden Jaguars’ training match against the Regional Member Associations’ teams.
Victory in this CONCACAF Nations League match is crucial to ensure Guyana qualify for their first-ever Gold Cup, and will be advantageous for not only the players but the country as a whole. GFF President Wayne Forde has, therefore, requested full national support, including corporate and fan engagement, to ensure the successful hosting of the match.
The CONCACAF Gold Cup brings together the top national teams from North America, Central America and the Caribbean, and is broadcast live across the Region. As such, the tournament would provide a significant platform for Guyanese football talent to showcase their skills on the international stage.
To date, Guyana are eighth on the points table following the penalisation of Barbados for fielding ineligible players against Guyana resulting in the match being awarded to Guyana by a 3-0 margin.