The Guyana Hockey Board (GHB) has selected 21 players, from which the final team of 18 will be chosen to represent Guyana at the Pan American Junior Championships, scheduled for Toronto, Canada from May 20-28.
Andrew Stewart clears the ball during Guyana’s 2-2 draw with Brazil at the 2015 Pan American Challenge in Chiclayo, Peru
The GHB was forced to make their selection earlier than usual due to the time required for the processing of Canadian visa applications for the players. The final 18-man team will be named in mid-April.
The squad has been preparing for the Pan American Junior Championships since August of 2014, by competing in all local competitions in addition to two warmup tours of Trinidad and Tobago.
On their first developmental tour in December of 2014, Guyana won three of their four matches; during their second tour in August of 2015 the team won seven of their nine matches.
The squad includes eight players who were a part of the senior national team which drew 2-2 with Olympic qualifiers Brazil, on their way to a semifinal berth at the Pan American Challenge in Peru last year.
The team will be led by experienced captain and midfielder Mark Sargeant, with Andrew Stewart marshaling the defence and England-based playmaker Aroydy Branford returning to lead the striking line.
The players have recently stepped up their physical preparations under the guidance of physical trainer Barington Browne.
Head Coach Robert Fernandes indicated, fitness will be one of the main areas of emphasis for the team in the 10 weeks leading up to the tournament.
“As our last four international tours have proven, both at the junior and senior levels, our ability to outwork our opponents has kept us competitive and made up for our deficiencies in other areas. We can’t control our lack of access to an artificial pitch or to regular competition but what we can control is our fitness level and this is where we must be superior to our opponents.”
The 21-member National Squad read: Mark Sargeant (Cap), Medroy Scotland (GK), Kareem McKenzie, Keon McKenzie, Daniel Hooper, Shaquille Leung, Meshach Sargeant, Ian Burke, Michael Hing (GK), Rahim Oliver (GK), Rosario Ramsammy, Aroydy Branford, Andrew Stewart, Leon Bacchus, Jael Gaskin, Omar Hopkinson, Hilton Chester, Ato Greene, Paramanand Dindial, Troy Hodge and Nyron Joseph.