Head Coach Mark Rodrigues today announced the names of the 19 players who will travel to the Dominican Republic to face St Kitts (August 21) and Cuba (August 23) in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) 2016 Women’s Olympic Qualifiers.
Rodrigues announcement comes after taking 22 players through a rigorous one-week training camp that wrapped up last weekend with the head coach now focusing his attention on getting out of Group Four and advance further in the qualifier to become the first team from to play at the Olympic Games.
Goalkeeper Ruth George is the lone locally based player selected with Rodrigues turning to players from his historic 2010 Gold Cup squad and from his 2012 U-20 group who are from the US, Canada and the UK.
Ashley Rodrigues was once again named Captain, and will have the De Souza sisters Kayla and Briana, along with Ashlee Savona, Calaigh Copeland, Otesha Charles, Mariam El-Masri, Olivia Gonsalves, Alison Heydorn, Kailey Leila, Chantal Lynch, Kelly Pelz-Butler, Brittany Persaud, Leah-Marie Ramalho, Justine Rodrigues, Martyne Alphonso, Derienne Busby and Chante Sandiford.
As compared to the first time the girls were group, Coach Rodrigues said he was excited to have a wide pool of players to select from, with a few higher level identified players still not in attendance that may be available for later rounds pending Guyana’s advancement.
It was the first time since 2010 the women were coming together and Rodrigues said “It was also great to see the developmental maturity of our players after such a long layoff, and see the U20’s step up to fight and earn spots”.
“This is a much more experienced squad than 2010, but we must remember that other countries have also been developing their female players, while also reaching out to their Diasporas for higher level players, so we do not know what to expect from our competition until game day”
The women’s Head Coach is of the opinion that along with his staff, their focus is what Guyana will put on the field with the intention and hope of dictating the game.
“We have adopted and trained in a new system of play that’s very exciting and adaptable to whatever our opponents may bring to the field. The players’ procedural memory was exhausted at the end of the camp. That was part of the camp’s training plan, so that when we kick start that part of the brain on August 20 (training – the day before the first game), their triggers will ignite and get us as close to peak mental and physical performance as possible early in the game” Rodrigues noted.
In the absence of an Internationally friendly, The ‘Lady Jags’ resorted to playing a Georgetown U-17 boys team and the Digicel School’s Football National Champions Christianburg/Wismar Secondary and despite being out muscled in the two scrimmages, Rodrigues attributed his team selection to how the players reaction during the two contest and the contribution to the team during encampment.
The Head Coach says that he welcomes the high expectation of the team, noting “the team has embraced the fact that everyone’s expectations are based on our achievements in 2010 and rightfully so. It was a great, historical achievement for Guyana Football”
He added however “while it’s great to reflect and rejoice on the past and the legacies created and set back then, we must now first and foremost remain focused on what we have to do on August 21 and 23, and that is to win our group to advance.
The Squad: Ashley Rodrigues (Captain) Kayla De Souza, Briana De Souza, Ashlee Savona, Calaigh Copeland, Otesha Charles, Mariam El-Masri, Olivia Gonsalves, Alison Heydorn, Kailey Leila, Chantal Lynch, Kelly Pelz-Butler, Brittany Persaud, Leah-Marie Ramalho, Justine Rodrigues, Martyne Alphonso, Derienne Busby, Ruth George and Chante Sandiford.