(ABOVE) Guyana Jamaal Shabazz (left) heads to the bench prior to his team's World Cup qualifier against host St. Vincent & the Grenadines on June 10, 2015, in Kingstown.
KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent & the Grenadines – In the first leg of its World Cup Qualifying, second-round series on Wednesday at St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Guyana twice let single-goal leads slip away and had to settle for a 2-2 draw.
Despite the way in which the result was reached, Golden Jaguars head coach Jamaal Shabazz expressed satisfaction with his team’s overall performance and the fact that a pair of road goals were banked.
“We kept taking the lead and I was a bit disappointed that we were not able to hold the lead,” said Shabazz. “I thought the second goal was a soft goal, but all in all it is good still to come away with a draw away from home.”
For Sunday’s return game, the 51-year-old is of the view that St. Vincent needs to win outright in order to advance, especially since away goals are in his team’s favor and that a draw of 3-3 or greater is unlikely.
Though a draw at the Arnos Vale Playing Field was a more than acceptable outcome, Shabazz is looking for a more nuanced performance at home. He’ll be working on winning the ball higher up field and pressing more in midfield.
“Once we do our homework I am very confident that we can get forward from here,” the tactician expressed.
The Golden Jaguars played the opener without four key England-based players, who were still awaiting their Guyanese passports. It was hoped that Marcel Barrington, Matthew Briggs, Samuel Cox and Neil Danns would be available for selection in the second leg.
“At times, in the game, we needed that little experience, but all in all we can’t cry over spilt milk,” finished Shabazz. “We hope that we’ll be able to get them for the next game.”