- Capital: Georgetown
- Official Languages: English plus 10 indigenous languages – Akawaio, Macushi, Waiwai, Arawak (Lokono), Patamona, Warrau, Carib, Wapishana, Pemon (Arekuna) and Mawayana
- Nicknames: Golden Jaguars
- Association: Guyana Football Federation (GFF)
- FIFA Code: GUY
- Best World Cup Result (Men): Not Qualified
- Best World Cup Result (Women): Not Qualified
- Best Gold Cup Result (Men): Group Stage (2019)
- Best Gold Cup Result (Women): Group Stage (2010)
- Highest FIFA Ranking (Men): 86th (November 2010)
- Highest FIFA Ranking (Women): 76th (March 2017)
- Lowest FIFA Ranking (Men): 18th (February 2004)
- Lowest FIFA Ranking (Women): 142nd (July 2015)
- Most Capped Player: Charles Pollard – 80 caps
- Top Scorer: Gregory Richardson – 18 goals (as of Feb 2021)
Guyana, officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, is a country situated on the northern mainland of South America. Although geographically the country is on the South American continent it is officially part of the mainland Caribbean region and maintains it’s strong cultural, historical and political ties with other Caribbean countries and the Caribbean community as a whole. The national football team of Guyana is one of three South American nations to be members of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) of CONCACAF alongside Suriname and French Guiana.
Guyana became an independent country in May 1966 and up until then were known as British Guiana. As British Guiana the national football team played their first ever international fixture on 21st July 1905, resulting in a 4-1 home defeat against Trinidad and Tobago. Amazingly it would take another 16 years for them to play their next fixture. This game was against their near neighbours Suriname with British Guiana winning by 2 goals to 1.
Following their independence in 1966, Guyana did not play another match for another five years with their first fixture as an independent nation coming in the 1971 CONCACAF Championships against Suriname. Five years later saw Guyana entering their first every World Cup qualifying campaign. In the two legged preliminary round of CONCACAF qualifying they were drawn to play against Suriname. The Golden Jaguars won the first leg of the tie 2-0 at home but succumbed to a 3-0 defeat in Suriname and as a result were eliminated at the first hurdle.
The year, 2006 will go down as an unforgettable one for people connected with football in Guyana. Amazingly the national team recorded 11 successive wins which elevated them 87 places up the FIFA World Rankings.
To find out more about The Golden Jaguars we spoke to Santokie Nagulendran who is a co-founder of the Caribbean Cricket Podcast, as well as being a senior writer for Football Paradise, and having a great knowledge of the game in Guyana. You can find his brilliant twitter feed below:
- Twitter: @Santokie89
- Caribbean Cricket Podcast Twitter: @CaribCricket
- Football Paradise Articles: https://www.footballparadise.com/author/nagulendransantokie/
Q. Who would you say is your country’s best player and coach/manager of all-time, and the reasonings behind the choices?
Best Player: Gregory Richardson, a prolific striker who was developed locally and managed to make it to the MLS, which is remarkable for a domestic player to do. Has been a prolific goal-scorer for nearly 20 years.
Best Manager: Jamaal Shabazz. The Trinidadian had three stints as manager, and whilst never taking Guyana to an official tournament, he oversaw the recruitment of overseas stars such as Leon Cort, Neil Danns, Matthew Briggs, etc, and constantly improved the side.
Q. Who could be regarded as a ‘cult hero’ in terms of the national team both in the past and present?
Again, has to be Gregory Richardson, he’s know as ”Jackie Chan” to fans, and is a real people’s champion.
Q. Of the current team, who would you say is the best player in the Guyana national side currently?
Neil Danns. He’s now 38, but since his Guyana debut in 2015 he has been remarkable for the team. Scored all 3 goals for Guyana at the 2019 Gold Cup, which sums up his impact on the field. Off it, he has given players great insights as a veteran [and has just recently signed for the Cymru Premier defending champions, Connah’s Quay Nomads].
Q. How would you describe the current state/performance of the national team?
A combination of organisational issues and COVID means that no local football has been played for nearly two years now, but the national team has made the 2021 Gold Cup qualifiers in USA, which are scheduled to be played this July, and will be hoping to make the final tournament.
Q. Are there any Guyanese players who you think we should be focusing on for the future – who would you say is the most exciting up & coming talent from the country?
Jeremy Garrett [18 year-old defender] and Curtez Kellman [22 year-old midfielder]. Two youngsters who have earned scholarships to play ”soccer” for USA colleges and will most likely be key national team figures in years to come.
Q. Looking at Guyana’s international history, what would you say has been the best game, result or performance for the national team in your opinion?
March 2019, CONCACAF Nations League. Guyana needed to beat Belize to qualify for the Gold Cup for the first time in our history. It was a home game and very tense. Guyana won 2-1. The scenes at full time were crazy!
Q. Likewise, is there a performance or result which is regarded as the team’s lowest point?
A 5-0 loss to Mexico in 2014 World Cup qualification. Not only for the result, but the fact that the administration sold rights for the home game to USA, so it was held in Houston, Texas rather than in Guyana.
Q. What are the best and worst things about being a fan of the Guyana national team?
It’s an unusual country, located in South America, but part of CONCACAF, which immediately generates intrigue from people. On the other hand, it is often hard to get information about the local football taking place, and the national team plays sporadically.
Q. Have the fans adopted some kind of unofficial anthem to sing along to before/during/after matches?
Guyana is still a cricket country at its core. Football fandom as we see in Europe has not really translated there yet!
Q. Do you have a favourite or iconic shirt from the whole time of the national team?
The iconic 2015 arrowhead kit!
Q. Finally, what are your hopes for the future of the Guyanese national team?
To regularly qualify for the Gold Cup so we maintain consistent quality, and one day qualify for the expanded World Cup!
A massive thank you to Santokie for answering our questions on the Golden Jaguars. Remember you can find the link to his excellent twitter account in the link at the top of the blogpage.
If you have any comments, suggestions, reactions, or even your own answers to the above questions, please write them in the comments box below. Likewise, you can either email us at email@example.com or send a message to the author @Gareth19801 or the editor @The94thMin on Twitter.