By Avenash Ramzan
While the Golden Jaguars will be using the upcoming international friendly against St Lucia to expose the young crop of footballers, Head Coach Jamaal Shabazz said “good results” are always the top priority in the long-term development of the team.
Shabazz made the comment prior to the squad’s first training session on Wednesday afternoon at the Police Sports Club ground, Eve Leary, ahead of the March 22 clash in Guyana.
The candid coach briefly shared his long-term plans for the team, starting with the game against the islanders.
“Of course we want to have good results; a good result is always the first priority on the agenda, but we also want to build a national team over a period of two years that will brand itself back to the kind of team we had in the past and even try to do better,” Shabazz explained.
He continued, “Of course, a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step and it’s not going to be an easy process. Always giving players international exposure is a tedious process and we’ve got to be mindful, because the results don’t always come the way we would like.”
Shabazz pointed out that Wednesday’s session was to get the players in the frame of mind in preparation for two international friendlies, the second of which will be held on March 29 against Grenada.
The squad for the St Lucia game is primarily local based players, including several Under-23s, while overseas players, including Brandon Beresford and Jamaal Smith from North America, and a few from Trinidad and Tobago will link up with the unit for the Grenada clash.The core group in training at the moment comprises Derrick Carter, Joshua Brown, King Solomon Austin, Colin Nelson, Dwain Jacob, Clive Nobrega, Les Charles Critchlow, Vurlon Mills, Dwayne Lawrence, Kris Camacho, Calvin Shepherd, Daniel Wilson, Sheldon Holder, Manasseh Primo, Dorville Stewart, Amos Ramsey, Konata Mannings and Eon Alleyne.
The players will go into camp on Friday. With the aim of affording the Golden Jaguars every opportunity to play competitively ahead of the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers, set to start in June, the Normalisation Committee of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) finalised the international friendly against St Lucia late last month.
The match will be played at the Guyana National Stadium, marking the return of international football to the venue after a brief hiatus. The game will be the Golden Jaguars’ second international friendly of the year, following their 2-2 draw with hosts Barbados on February 1.