As the ‘Lady Jags’ open camp ahead of their Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Group Four Olympic Qualifier, the players are high on optimism of a successful campaign and expects the same from the Guyanese public.
The ladies arrived today for their week-long encampment under the guidance of Head Coach Mark Rodrigues and his assistant Sheron Abrams, as they prepare to face-off against St Kitts and Nevis (August 21) and Cuba (August 23) in the Dominican Republic.
In 2010, the ‘Lady Jags’ became the first National Team from Guyana to feature in a CONCACAF event when they played in the Gold Cup, hosted in Cancun Mexico.
One returning player from the historic squad Donna Joseph, said despite it being five years since the team is playing together, there was some amount of rust to shake off but noted, that this time around, things will be different.
“We had the experience from the last time, we know what to expect. This time we are more confident in ourselves, and trust each other and the programme and the coaches to do better this time around” Joseph noted.
Kayla DeSouza, another player from the 2010 squad believes that the players have all matured and are “more experienced and helping to pass on that experience to some of the new faces that haven’t been a part of the team to share that with them”
But Justine Rodrigues who was also instrumental in the team’s success in reaching the Gold Cup, says that though this time around the girls are entering the Olympic Qualifiers and the goal now is reaching Brazil in 2016, the objective remains the same and they welcome some pressure from the public to perform.
“I would only hope that the people can put their trust in us to do well and be confident in us as well. We really wouldn’t want to let our fans down. A lot of people are supporting us; family, friends and we’re carrying a nation as well, so we will welcome the pressure” Rodrigues said.
Group one will be hosted by Puerto Rico and fields Aruba, Puerto Rico, Haiti and Grenada. Group Two features St Lucia, Antigua & Barbuda, the Cayman Islands and Trinidad & Tobago, to be staged in Trinidad & Tobago.
The Group Three games will be played in Suriname and the teams in this group are Dominican Republic, Dominica and Jamaica.
While the tournament has an age limit of Under-23 for men born on or after January 1, 1993, there is no age ceiling for the Women’s Qualifiers.