Guyana's Golden Jaguars to oppose Cabo Verde, Cambodia in historic trek to Saudi Arabia

By Sports Desk March 08, 2024

Guyana’s senior national men’s football team, the Golden Jaguars are set for a historic sojourn to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to play two international friendlies during the March window.

President of the Guyana Football Federation, Wayne Forde made the announcement on Thursday at the Federation’s headquarters in Georgetown.

Jamaal Shabazz’s men will be up against Cabo Verde on March 21 and Cambodia on March 26. Both games will be played at the Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Stadium, Jeddah.

Based on the current FIFA rankings, Cabo Verde is ranked 65th, Guyana 157th and Cambodia 179th.

Forde expressed excitement about the upcoming matches in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, emphasising the enthusiasm among local stakeholders, particularly the Golden Jaguars team members.

As per the initiative approved by the FIFA Council in 2023, these matches mark the beginning of a new tradition where FIFA will host matches across the six confederations every even-numbered year.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia offers a unique experience for all of us, especially our players. The environment will be markedly different from what they’re accustomed to within the Confederation of Concacaf. We hope they seize the opportunity to showcase their skills, aiming to catch the attention of clubs in Saudi Arabia and other scouts monitoring these games,” said Forde.

Forde lauded Shabazz for his achievements in the Concacaf Nations League, where he guided Guyana to promotion to League A.

“We eagerly anticipate the start of the World Cup qualifiers in June and the Nations League, which begins in September. As we strive towards 2026, we’re focused on arranging more international friendlies for the team while actively scouting new talent to bolster our programme,” Forde noted.

Shabazz for his part, expressed delight at the opportunity for his team to participate in the FIFA Series, as he stressed not only the historic aspect of playing in the Middle East for the first time, but more importantly, the significance of being able to assess the team’s strengths and weaknesses in preparation for the upcoming World Cup campaign.

The inaugural FIFA Series aims to facilitate football nations in competing against teams outside their confederation, fostering greater international football interaction and contributing to global football development. The pilot edition will feature 20 member associations playing across four locations spanning three continents.

Algeria, Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia, and Sri Lanka are the host nations for the first FIFA Series.

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