The setting was perfect, a packed National Stadium with fans decked out in yellow and Guyana’s ‘Golden Jaguars’ did not disappoint, beating the highly touted Trinidad and Tobago’s ‘Soca Warriors’ 2-1 last evening to advance to the third round of the FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifiers for the first time.
UK-based Ricky Shakes, who plays professionally, opened the scoring in the 10th minute with a magnificent volley that crashed into the far corner.
It came from a corner that saw an attempted clearance land in his path and without hesitation swivelled and hammered his effort past a surprised Marvin Phillip.
The Jaguars continued their relentless attack in the Trinidadians half for the better part of the opening half and had a few more opportunities to stretch their advantage, but Phillip’s brilliance denied time and again.
Buoyed by the support of the home fans and their early success, the Guyanese defenders marshalled by the experienced Charles ‘Lily’ Pollard kept the dreadlocked Stoke City star Kenwyne Jones on a close watch and even though the strategy of the Warriors was to feed the ball into him, Pollard and company were equal to the task.
Jones with the reputation in the Premiership of a deadly header was becoming increasingly frustrated with the robust defending of the Jaguars backline with Kayode McKinnon, Walter Moore and Charles Newton offering admirable support.
Dwain Jacobs, Cort, Gregory Richardson and Shakes kept the Trinidadian defence busy with some wonderful interchanges and Jacobs missed a solid chance to add another goal before the half, his tame attempt going straight at goalkeeper Phillip.
Richardson too was guilty of missing an opportunity shortly before the half when he dribbled past two defenders, but his stinging right footer sailed agonisingly outside the left upright.
It was a reprieve for the visitors. The half came with no team managing to add any further goals.
On the resumption, The Warriors pressed relentlessly for the equaliser, but once again Pollard stood tall, repelling the challenges of Jones and company much to the delight of the thousands of spectators that filled the arena.
The Trinis pressure was unremitting and it took some sturdy defending along with some magnificent stops from goalkeeper Ronson Williams to keep Guyana in the ascendancy.
Jones was looking the high calibre player that he is and executed some wonderful passes with the skilful Lester Peltier, who was creating some bother for the Guyanese, but as was the order of the day, the Jaguars wall stood firm, sealing every crack that the Warriors tried to exploit.
T&T won a free kick just outside the 25-yard box, but Akenaton Edwards’s powerful strike sailed harmlessly over the crossbar, giving Williams no trouble.
Shortly after, Jones won a free kick, but his shot went straight into the safe hands of Williams as the capacity crowd roared with delight.
Guyana was beginning to find second gear and got the cushion they were looking for when Leon Cort came from defence off a counter attack reached on to the end of a long pass and outran his markers, before rounding the goalkeeper and hammering a shot into the empty goal.
That came in the 81st minute of play.
It literally took everything out of the Warriors, except for their star Jones and he earned some solace for them when he stepped up to take a free kick that was awarded two minutes into injury time and his shot ricocheted off a Guyanese defender, wrong footed Williams in the process and landed at the back of the net.
It, however, was a little too late as shortly after the final whistle sounded giving the Jaguars a well deserved victory.
Following last night’s famous win, Guyana has now stepped into rarefied air, joining eleven other contenders in the hunt for six spots in the fourth round. The Golden Jaguars will be in Group B with the highest ranked CONCACAF side, Mexico (22), Costa Rica (62) and El Salvador (82). Guyana’s current world ranking is 97th.
The other eight qualifiers in the two remaining groups are: Group A – USA (34), Jamaica (50), Guatemala (99) and Antigua and Barbuda (90) and Group C – Honduras (57), Cuba (100), Panama (53) and Canada (83)
The third round fixtures will be played between June 8 and October 16, 2012. Six teams – the top two in each group – will advance to Round Four, which will be played between February 6 and October 15, 2013. The top three from the fourth round will qualify automatically for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, while the fourth place will play in an Intercontinental playoff to possibly join them.
Meanwhile, among the distinguished guests who attended the game was President Bharrat Jagdeo, Minister of Sport Dr. Frank Anthony, members of the Diplomatic Corps and other notable personalities in the society.
Acting President Franklin Wilson speaking with Kaieteur Sport said he was lost for words, but commended the Jaguars for a determined display against worthy opponents.
He added that the camaraderie and discipline displayed by the players was exemplary and thanked the technical staff for their work as well.
“We knew that something special was in the making and as you saw it happened,” Wilson stated. He extended thanks to the fans, Government of Guyana and the corporate community for their support.
Road to Rio ends as T&T lose 2-1 to Guyana.
By Ian Prescott (Express).
It was a popular theme after Guyana's Golden Jaguars won 2-1 at the Providence National Stadium, Guyana on Friday night, and at the same time knocked Trinidad and Tobago out of the race to qualify for the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup.
"This is our time," Guyana's Trinidadian coach Jamaal Shabazz said. "It was important that Guyana win this game. This is Guyana's time."
Carnival-like celebrations erupted as a packed stadium celebrated Guyana's first victory in some 60 years over Trinidad and Tobago.
And as the Golden Jaguars made their way back to their base at the Radisson Hotel, Georgetown, everywhere crowds gathered to celebrate the great achievement of Guyana reaching the third round of World Cup CONCACAF Zone qualifying for the first time.
"This is the biggest thing to ever happen to Guyana football," team manager Mark Xavier declared. "I might wake up in the morning and not believe that this has happened."
T&T's Soca Warriors are probably also still wondering what happened as well.
England-born Ricky Shakes, a Trinidad and Tobago reject, put his new compatriots on the road to victory in the tenth minute when putting a powerful right-footed volley onto a ball which defender Seon Power failed to properly head clear.
And after withstanding some second-half pressure from T&T, another Englishman, Leon Cort, cemented Guyana's victory in the 81st when taking a ball over the top and dispatching his shot past T&T keeper Marvin Phillip.
Between Guyana's two goals, Suriname referee Enrico Wijngaarde handed Kevin Molino a yellow card on the half-hour when the T&T midfielder appeared to have a legitimate penalty claim when tripped as he drove into the box.
And Molino robbed teammate Hughtun Hector of a 75th minute scoring chance, by intercepting captain Kenwyne Jones' pass as Hector was about to strike in the penalty area. Molino ended with a shot past the far post.
Skipper Jones made some marginal late impact for the Warriors when netting a free-kick from the edge of the penalty area in added-on time.
Hustle and greater desire largely won Guyana the match. Trinidad and Tobago talked the talk, but it was the Golden Jaguars that ran hard, dived in to block shots and won every second ball.
Guyana's willingness to run created several edgy moments for a T&T defence that looked all at sea, depending on acrobatic keeper Phillip to tip away a sure goal from Richardson in the first half to keep them afloat.
Phillip did it again near the end, when barely clutching Vurlon Mills' shot as the ball searched for the far corner.
Afterward, a clearly agitated Soca Warriors assistant coach Anton Corneal was the only one initially strong enough to speak.
But later, T&T's England-born midfielder Chris Birchall also spoke his mind, while head coach Otto Pfister looked bewildered.
"It's a most disappointing feeling. One, to be knocked out of a World Cup and, two, knowing that desire is our major problem," Corneal said. "We had some chances we didn't convert, but desire brought out a lot of things. Second balls, we just didn't have that passion to win a second ball.
We always thought we would be in it because of the players we have. You've got to play. You have to play. You can't just hope things happen, you have to make things happen."
Known for his battling qualities, Birchall was taken off in the first half and admitted he was having difficulty controlling the ball in centre-field, where a cricket turf wicket is placed. Friday's loss was his lowest moment in Trinidad and Tobago colours Birchall said.
"The manner in which we lost was unacceptable. No fight...no heart," Birchall declared. "They won every second ball. We didn't compete and they deserve the win.
"The group doesn't lie, we have gone downhill. We have got to try and get back up there again," Birchall added. "This has nothing to do with coach Pfister, it's the players.
The coach can't go on the pitch for you and win tackles and give you desire and take your chances. The coach has done a great job. As players we have got to look at ourselves. It's our fault."
The two teams will clash again in the second leg on Tuesday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.
End of a road.
By: Shaun Fuentes (TTFF).
Trinidad and Tobago faced a harsh reality on Friday night as its 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign came to a depressing end following its 2-1 defeat to hosts Guyana at the National Stadium, Providence.
The result pushed Guyana to an uncatchable 13 points going into Tuesday’s encounter at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. Minnows Antigua and Barbuda, with a population of only 89,000 also created history by advancing to the semi-final round as they defeated Haiti 1-0 at home.
They now join USA, Guatemala and Jamaica in the next round. Guyana will tangle with El Salvador, Mexico and Costa Rica. And Trinidad and Tobago – a proper evaluation and regrouping in a concerted effort to get its football back on the path that it can bring a level of success, respect and admiration.
An 11th minute goal by Ricky Shakes, who once wore a T&T shirt in a friendly versus Iceland in 2006 and an 81st minute by Leon Court turned the “Soca Warriors” over as Guyana lived up to its pre-match predictions of a win over the visitors. A Kenwyne Jones 91st minute item came obviously too late for T&T.
It was the first time since the 1982 World Cup campaign when they drew 0-0 with Netherlands Antilles twice that T&T failed to progress into the penultimate qualifying round or semi-final stage of the qualifiers.
Trinidadian-born head coach Jamaal Shabazz appeared at a loss for words after Friday’s win saying only to some members of the T&T contingent “What can I say” as he too tried to come to terms with what undoubtedly was Guyana’s proudest footballing moment and one of their biggest ever sporting achievements.
T&T’s head coach Otto Pfister was left to ponder T&T’s exit which now leaves them looking ahead to the 2018 campaign, a few Caribbean and Concacaf Gold Cup campaigns in between and of course the upcoming 2012 Olympic qualifying campaign which thankfully the T&T Under 23 teams appears to be in a promising position.
“This my friends is something you never look forward to and it is something that is always difficult to accept and understand. But it must be a lesson in life for all of us. When you look back now, for me this campaign was lost when we lost in Bermuda.
If you look back at the round, that result made it difficult for us and we did not come back like we should. Okay this is life, you are out one day and then you have to decide how you pick yourself up and go again,” Pfister said after the match.
Days like this one are not what any player, staff member or supporter can stomach and it was a fact accepted by the players and staff following the match.
“Everything we are saying after the game in terms of what we should have done was said in the pre-match earlier today. We lacked a lot of things out there today. They wanted it more and now we have to face this defeat and see how much we really have that desire to succeed in the game,” Jones added.
Assistant coach Anton Corneal, in his talk with the players after the loss likened the performance by Guyana to the attitude of Guyanese workmen at his home in Trinidad.
“When I think about the situation now it reminds me of the two Guyanese workmen at my home. The reason they are there doing the work … it’s a job no other Trinidadian wants to do because it is not in their interest or they are not prepared to do a job like this.
The Guyanese men are prepared to work for $250 a day but the Trinidadian wants $400 for the same job and if you cannot give them that then they prefer to hang on the block and hustle. They are prepared to not do the job,” Corneal said.
“One particular night the two men came to me just before nighttime and asked to put up two lights in the backyard and I asked them if they were crazy… go home and we would work again tomorrow.
Their response was no sir, this is a job we have to finish tonight. And what we saw from the Guyanese team tonight was evidence of how much more they wanted it and an idea of their attitude and desire which we lacked badly as a team. This was the opportunity for them to show that.
“There are lot of things we can look back on but as players, staff and administrators we need to take a deeper look at what we’ve been doing, where we’ve gone wrong and how much we have to do to get better than we are right now. We cannot go back to our clubs and our homes and be like this just did not happen.
How can we do that? We cannot walk away like this just did not happen and we can’t do that in two weeks neither. What happened here must never again and that is what we need to tell ourselves. Don’t make it just about the Trinidad and Tobago national team, but take it with you back to your clubs and with your everyday life.
“They were not special and none of their players are better than us by any means but when it came down to desire and will to win the match, they got the better of us.
“Nobody is more disappointed than the players and the staff. We feel very sorry about the situation we’re in right now but at the end of the day we have to take a closer look at ourselves if we intend to improve what we are right now.
And it starts with a lot more passion and desire to give everything when we’re in it whether it be for the country’s national football team or in our own personal lives away from football,” Corneal continued.
The T&T dressing room felt exactly like one should at end of a game in which a World Cup qualifying dream turned into a nightmare finish. And a wall apart, the Guyanese team embraced the joy of victory.
“Oh Bangali Baboo, Oh Guyana Baboo, We are the very best ah de Guyanese Baboo” one avid teary eyed Guyanese fan shout and sang. Inside 15 minutes following the end of the game, while the majority of the crowd was still soaking in the win in the stands, some of them were already close to the dressing room area waiting to embrace their heroes.
“This is a fantastic victory for us and a wonderful feeling for me personally,” Shakes said. “We dreamt about this moment and we came here tonight and made it a reality.”
Shabazz added: “This is history for Guyana and we created it tonight by showing what belief, determination and a will to accomplish something can do for our lives and for a country. This is a moment we dreamt about, that I dreamt about and we worked together and made it happen.”
The T&T team returns home around midday on Saturday and will resume training on Tuesday, with a game that holds little significance except for some dignity to be played from 5pm.
There has already been some hint from the coaching staff that the opportunity could be used to throw in some younger blood into the action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Recap with Flex Mohammed.
Full Time - T&T 1 (Kenwyne Jones 91) vs 2 Guyana (Ricky Shakes 11, Leon Cort 81).
Trinidad & Tobago: - 1.Marvin Phillip, 11.Carlos Edwards, 5.Julius James, 20.Seon Power, 4.Akeem Adams, 8.Khaleem Hyland, 7.Christopher Birchall (15.Hughtun Hector 39th), 16.Kevin Molino (Yellow 29), 13.Lester Peltier (14.Stern John 56th), 9.Kenwyne Jones (capt), 19.Keon Daniel (12.Kendall Jagdeosingh 55th).
Subs: - 21.Jan-Michael Williams, 6.Oesi Telesford, 3.Carlyle Mitchell, 10.Hayden Tinto, 17.Anthony Wolfe, 18.Andrei Pacheco.
Coach: - Otto Pfister (GER).
Guyana: - 1.Ronson Williams, 2.Jake Newton, 4.Leon Cort (Yellow 82), 5.Walter Moore, 16.Kayode McKinnon, 7.Dwain Jacobs (3.Christopher Bourne 75th), 13.Charles Pollard, 8.Chris Nurse (capt), 10.Carl Cort, 21.Ricky Shakes, 11.Gregory Richardson (17.Vurlon Mills 58th) (Yellow 68).
Subs: - 14.Anthony Benfield, 19.Travis Grant, 20.Dwight Peters, 22.Richard Reynolds.
Coach: - Jamal Shabaaz (TRI).
Venue: - Providence National Stadium (Guyana).
Referee: - Enrico Wijngaarde (Suriname).