Guyana out of the running for 2022 World Cup

– following 3-0 loss to St Kitts & Nevis

By Jemima Holmes

If Guyana had any hope of making it to the FIFA World Cup in 2022, that hope may now be a bridge too far, following their crushing loss to St Kitts and Nevis on Friday afternoon.
In competing against the host team at Warner Park in St Kitts, Head Coach Marcio Maximo again opted for a 9:2 international to local ratio for the starting XI. Captain Matthew Briggs, Liam Gordon, Terrence Vancooten and Miguel Scarlett manned the back line; Bayli Spencer-Adams, Daniel Wilson, Pernell Schultz and Stephen Duke- McKenna commanded the middle, with Omari Glasgow also hanging back. Upfront was Keanu Marsh Browne by his lone self, and Kai McKenzie- Lyle was given another chance at being custodian of the goal.
Contrary to what they might have planned for themselves, the Golden Jaguars had a nightmare start, with a foul in the box in the 8th minute. This led to a penalty, taken by St Kitts player Keithroy Freeman, who was right on the money with a shot that escaped McKenzie-Lyle’s reach.
From that moment, Guyana buckled down in hopes of restricting the home team; but while this may have worked for a few fleeting minutes, Keithroy Freeman returned to play villain in Guyana’s fairytale. The Kittitian caught the defense lapsing in the 35th minute, and connected a lucky shot with the back of the net to register the hosts’ second goal.
The remaining minutes of the first segment went quietly, as the Golden Jaguars worked on their possession and control.
At the opening of the second segment, Coach Maximo opted for two immediate changes, which saw Trayon Bobb entering in Omari Glasgow’s place, and Job Caesar getting a ‘run’ in place of Spencer-Adams. These changes had no effect on the complexion of the game, as St Kitts went on to net their third and final goal.
A coordinated play from the dual-island team got them between the corner and goal, and professional player Romaine Sawyers was patiently waiting smack in front of the 18-yard box. The West Bromwich Albion (Premier League Club) player hadn’t much to do but fire a direct shot, again catching McKenzie-Lyle off guard in the 67th.
Maximo’s instantaneous response to that goal was substituting Duke-McKenna with Kelsey Benjamin in the 69th minute. Five minutes later, Osafa Simpson had his Senior Men’s National Team debut when he was brought on in place of Pernell Schultz.
Osafa brought a sense of urgency to the match by immediately working to effect a successful play for the Golden Jaguars. The 5 home-based Jaguars positioned in the middle did wonders for the team’s possession and attempts at the goal, showing that it may be a combination that had needed to be examined earlier.
In the 81st minute, Simpson made a spirited attempt at the goal from the corner of the box, and it was barely caught by the St Kitts keeper. Guyana got another chance to change the score-line in the 90th minute through Kelsey Benjamin who was primely positioned in front of the goal, and that was only just deflected by the St Kitts keeper.
What is clear, however, is that the home-based Jaguars need to work on their finishing. If only they had been sharper in that respect, there would have been a different result than the 3-0 finish in St Kitts’ favour.
St Kitts will now remain at the top of Group F with wins from as many games. Puerto Rico are positioned at second with 4 points. Trinidad and Tobago have the same amount of points as Puerto Rico from a win and a draw, but are edged by Puerto Rico on goal difference. Guyana have now lost 2 games, and have only three points in hand, while the Bahamas are yet to win a game.
Guyana’s final Group F game will be played on Tuesday, June 4, against Puerto Rico. The matchup is set to kick off at 4pm local time.