Golden Jaguars Come Up Short On Gold Cup Qualification- New And Exciting Players Come To The Fore

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When they commenced action on March 22nd, 2016 in the Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup 2016 championships, the ultimate dream was qualifying for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the pinnacle of national football within the Confederation, but six (6) games later, having chalked up 3 wins and as many losses, that dream is no longer reality.
Back to back defeats to Caribbean Campions Jamaica (2-4) at the Leonora Track and Field Football Facility and Suriname (2-3) in Paramaribo, both in extra-time duals on October 11th and 8th respectively, brought the journey to an end.
Team captain for the two Round 3 matches, Samuel Cox, who plays with Boreham Wood FC in England, expressed disappointment at not defeating either Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz or Suriname after being in the lead against both nations at the end of the first half, but posited that the players gave of their best while Head Coach, Jamaal Shabazz, emphatically stated that he has taken full responsibility for the losses and the team not qualifying.
The Guyanese commenced their quest in bright fashion with an emphatic 7-0 whipping of Anguilla on March 22nd and seven days later were 1-0 winners over Puerto Rico in Round 1 qualifying.
Round 2 saw the Golden Jaguars going down to host Curacao 2-5 but rebounded in fine style to brush aside the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) 7-0, which saw them qualifying for Round 3.
Hopes were high for the Guyanese going into Round 3, which was just one step away from CONCACAF Gold Qualification. But that was not to be, despite showing good promise as they led Suriname 1-0 after 45 minutes and Jamaica 2-0 at the same juncture.
The Jaguars then allowed their opponents to get back into contention by scoring a similar amount of goals which tied the matches by the end of full time, 90 minutes. The rules of the competition at this stage states that there must be a winner; this meant that 30 minutes of extra time (two halves of 15 minutes) was played, at the end of which, Guyana ended as losers.
In both the Suriname and Jamaica encounters, the Golden Jaguars gave up two goals without responding, thus suffering defeats.
However, this journey for the Guyanese saw a number of new and exciting players coming to the fore, including 18 year-old 6’5” goalkeeper, Kai McKenzie-Lyle, who plays with Barnet FC in England.
Philadelphia Union FC Warren Creavalle (26 year-old) is an exciting midfield player; as is Cal Poly San Luis’ Cashion London, who is 20 years old. With the likes of 23 year-old Trayon Bobb (midfield) and 22 year-old forward Pernel Schultz and the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) embarking on a serious youth development drive, the future for Guyana looks bright.
In total, Guyana scored a total of 21 goals whilst conceding 12, but even this record of +9 wasn’t good enough to take them forward.
Attention will now be focused on the new Technical Director, 31 year-old Ian Greenwood of England, who commenced a 4-year contract on October 13, 2016.

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Columns · Issue 25 · Publication · Sports

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