Guyana to host Jamaica in key Caribbean Cup game
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(l-r) Je-Vaughn Watson and Christopher Nurse, the captains of Jamaica and Guyana, respectively, stand for a photo at a press conference on October 9, 2016, in Georgetown, Guyana.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Needing a win to remain in 2016-17 Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup contention, Guyana (0W-0D-1L, 0 points) will host Jamaica (0-0-0, 0) on Tuesday night in a key third-round encounter. 

The Golden Jaguars lost their Group 1 opener 3-2 after extratime on Saturday at host Suriname (1-0-0, 3) and now find themselves in the unenviable position of having to defeat the defending champion. 

Due to circumstances resulting from Hurricane Matthew last week, Jamaica’s October 5 match with the Surinamese was postponed. The Reggae Boyz’s only training session together is expected to be at the match venue in Leonora on Monday evening. 

Guyana is hoping the experience gained from the short trip to Suriname pays dividends at home. 

“It’s going to be a test for our team,” said captain and midfielder Christopher Nurse, who sat out the loss to look after a hamstring strain. “We know that the conditions that we face right now. We don’t have the Jaguars at the full potential right now. Match fitness has been a huge issue for us in camp, not just from domestic players, but from overseas players.” 

Regardless of the players’ individual conditioning concerns, it’s all hands on deck for the Golden Jaguars. 

“We want to approach this game for a long term and to try to get the best possible result; but a proud moment for us that we go on the field with a Caribbean giant,” head coach Jamaal Shabazz said. “Be sure, we will put our best feet forward because we want to make a good game against Jamaica. 

“We know just like the hurricane passed in Jamaica, we know they are a hurricane and we know we’ll have to shut up our doors and our windows. We know the nature of this opponent, but for us, we have a firm resolve and as Chris said, no matter how many minutes we have, we will give our best.” 

Jamaica captain Je-Vaughn Watson is expecting a difficult test from the host. In their last meeting on May 18, 2012, the Jamaicans edged to a 1-0 win in a friendly in Montego Bay. 

“We like competitive games and we are here to win, but it’s not going to be easy because they are a good team so at the end of the day we just have to do the work on the field and just make it all correct,” commented the New England Revolution standout. “At the end of the game, we try to come away with three points.”