– GFF still tight-lipped on team
ON November 11, 2011 at the Guyana National Stadium, the ‘Golden Jaguars’ roared to a 2 – 1 win over the ‘Soca Warriors’ to end the Twin Island Republic’s 2014 World Cup hopes, and, at the time, created history by reaching, for the first time, the penultimate round of the CONCACAF leg of the qualifiers.
Four days later (November 15), Trinidad and Tobago, playing at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port-of-Spain, defeated Guyana 3 – 0, but the damage was already done.
The two countries will now meet for the first time in six years on Tuesday, November 14, at the Ato Boldon Stadium, when Trinidad and Tobago play host to Guyana in a match played on a FIFA International date.
“This is a game I’ve been looking forward to for a long time,” Head Coach, Wayne Dover told Chronicle Sport in an exclusive interview last evening, adding, “I think if anything else, we want to ensure we come out with a win.”
The match on November 14 will be the 21st meeting between the two countries in the sport, with the first being in 1978.
The ‘Soca Warriors’ have won 14 of those meetings, while four matches ended in a draw. Guyana’s last victory was on November 11, 2011 and their first was a 4 – 0 win in the Island’s capital.
Guyana will also travel to Indonesia on November 25 for an international friendly, but Dover stated that the strongest possible team will be selected for the Trinidad and Tobago encounter, while for the match on the Asian continent, the team will feature predominantly local players.
Trinidad and Tobago have already published their squad for the up-coming game against Guyana, but, the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) remains tight-lipped about the composition of Guyana’s team, leaving many pundits and fans upset and wondering why the secrecy.
Dover stated that Blackpool’s midfield maestro, Neil Danns, will not be available for both friendlies, but pointed out “what you will see is a very strong team with our best available players for the Trinidad game because that’s a game where we could actually get some points, since it’s an official FIFA date. We have some players training here (in Guyana), but most of those players are really for the Indonesia game since that’s where we want to expose our local bunch.”
Veterans, Gregory ‘Jackie Chan’ Richardson and Anthony ‘Awo’ Abrams, who both played in the Trinidad and Tobago Pro-League, were named in Dover’s squad for the Friendly International, which should also feature UK-based Chris Bourne and Samuel Cox.
“I believe that we owe it to our supporters to assemble the best team for the game against Trinidad. I think people look at what happened on 11.11.11, but much has changed for both countries since then. Right now, we (Guyana football) are going through a rebuilding stage while trying to keep some of the old guards around to help in the process.
It’s going to take some time and I believe matches like these will help significantly,” Dover said.
While Guyana would’ve dropped significantly since their infamous 11.11.11 victory, Trinidad and Tobago would’ve rebounded to return to their dominant place in the region and CONCACAF, alongside Jamaica.
Guyana is ranked 165 in FIFA, dropping nine places in the recent rankings, while the ‘Soca Warriors’ moved 16 places up to 83 and eighth in CONCACAF.
While Guyana is coming off an upsetting 1 – 0 loss to Grenada in their last international outing, Trinidad and Tobago is playing for the first time since their historic 2 – 1 win over the United States, causing the ‘Red, White and Blue’ to miss the 2018 Russia World Cup.