January 21, 2018

CAC team confident ahead of Qualifiers in Jamaica

A mere two weeks after taking part in the International Pan American Championships on home soil, the Guyana Men and Women’s hockey teams will be jetting off to Jamaica to compete in the qualifiers for the Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC) being hosted in Kingston.

Robert France will captain the Men’s National Team in Jamaica

Speaking to Guyana Times International Sport exclusively, Guyana Hockey Board (GHB) boss and Women’s coach, Philip Fernandes revealed that due to commitments and in some cases retirement of senior ladies the women’s squad is a mixture of new faces and experience.
Fernandes explained; “we have lost some of our senior ladies to retirement or unavailability due to work commitments and so we have several new faces who will be making their international debut this tour.”
However, the GHB head expressed; “I am confident that the experience of our remaining senior ladies will be able to anchor the newcomers and work cohesively to produce good results.”
While only the top two finishers will qualify for the CAC Games in Colombia in 2018, Fernandes believes “Guyana is favoured to take one of those spots but will face strong challenges from hosts Jamaica and Puerto Rico who also have a lot of experience at this level. While the tournament comes at a difficult time for our teams as we were committed to indoor training for the past several months, we hope that at least the core of the team will be fit and ready for this competition.”
With players such as Minsodia Culpepper and Nicole Eastman making their debut at the recently concluded Pan American Championships, Fernandes pointed out that the experience would have been good for them.
Eighteen-year-old Tamala Glenn and 19-year-old Bushani Kaladeen will be the debutants on the upcoming tour; the debutants will be exposed to a high quality of competition and conditions. This Fernandes reasoned would be an advantage to Guyana if they succeed at the CAC Qualifiers to book a spot in Colombia, 2018.
“If Guyana is successful in qualifying for the CAC Games, the exposure of these young players will be valuable going into that tournament as it means they would be more familiar with the conditions and expectations of athletes at the International level.” Prodigy Aliyah Gordon has recovered from her injury that was sustained during the Pan Am Championship and is included in the Guyanese squad.
Meanwhile, the Men’s side has retained almost the entire squad that finished fourth at the Pan Am Championships two weeks ago.
Prolific striker Robert France will once again captain the side; included in the team is veteran defender/midfielder Dwayne Scott. The Branford brothers, Aroydy and Rayon will also be vital players for the Guyanese.
Both the men and women’s teams will be in action on Sunday (November 5). The men take on Puerto Rico while the women face Panama.
Only the top two finishers in both competitions will qualify for the CAC Games in Colombia, 2018.
The female squad reads: Briawna Gordon (Goalkeeper), Gabriella Xavier, Latacia Chung, Minsodia Culpepper, Marzana Fiedtkou, Kerensa Fernandes, Trisha Woodroffe (Captain), Marisha Fernandes, Maria Atkinson Monroe, Nicole Eastman, Bushani Kaladeen, Shebiki Baptiste, Aliyah Gordon, Ulrica Sutherland, Tamala Glenn, Ashley DeGroot.
The male squad: Melroy Scotland (GK), David Williams (GK), Hilton Chester, Kareem McKenzie, Marvin Dannett, Rayon Branford, Aroydy Branford, Dwayne Scott, Andrew Stewart, Jamarj Assanah, Jason De Santos, Randy Hope, Orlando Semple, Robert France (Captain), Mark Sargeant, Jael Gaskin, Meshach Sargeant, Steven Xavier.
Coaches: Men’s Coach Robert Fernandes, Women’s Coach Philip Fernandes