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Last chance

Ezra Stuart

Last chance

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Barbados’ footballers have a score to settle against their Guyana counterparts in their return World Cup qualifier at the National Stadium today.
The Bajan Tridents have not defeated the Golden Jaguars in four encounters this year, losing two friendlies 1-0 and 3-2 in May as well as last month’s World Cup first leg tie 2-0 – all in Guyana.
It is noteworthy that the only draw (1-1) was here at the Stadium where the teams will  meet at 4 p.m.
After also losing 2-0 to Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados are in a must-win situation to keep alive their slim hopes of advancing from this group which also includes Bermuda.
Having conceded four goals in two games, Barbados, now ranked 150th, have belatedly drafted in Emmerson Boyce, the Wigan Athletic English Premier League defender who played in a 1-0 loss to the United States at Kensington Oval in the 2008 campaign.
Boyce, 31, will take over the captain’s armband from long-serving midfielder Norman Forde.
“[The important] thing is to get a win, go forward from there, [and] hopefully get the right result in the remaining matches,” he said.
With Guyana expected to be supported by hundreds of compatriots who now reside here, Barbados head coach Colin “Potato” Forde called on Barbadians to come out and “set the tone and get behind the guys”.
“We have a very competitive squad, one to do the job,” said Forde who has now presided over four defeats in six national games this year.
His lone win was a 4-0 result against the 185th-ranked St Lucia.  
Former national captain John “Nobby” Parris has been recalled to national training and could also feature in a beefed up defence, with lanky six-footer Barry Skeete and Jonathan Straker.
The Tridents have lacked firepower, failing to score in either game so far, and the Barbados Football Association has wisely also brought home English-based striker Neil Harvey from the Evo-tik Premier League where he plays for Worksop Marines.
Harvey will be a straight swop for the injured Riviere Williams, while exciting 17-year-old Diquan Adamson could be handed a maiden senior cap and partner him upfront.
A third English-based player, Louis Moss, who plays for Conference team Wrexham, has been used in midfield instead of the forward line where he made his mark in the Caribbean Football Union’s (CFU) Under-15 Championship.
Youth Milan’s Dwayne “Boot” Griffith gets a well deserved call-up as well as the experienced Sheridan “Rudi” Grosvenor.
Dwayne Mars has looked sharp in the LIME Pelican Challenge and is another option, as well as Dayrells Road pointman Tristan “Fishy” Parris.
Norman Forde will need to be at his best in midfield, and it is expected that Rommell Burgess, after his good showing against the Trinidadians, will be given a starting role, along with fellow diminutive defensive midfielder Renaldo Marques.
Ramuel Miller and Carl Joseph, both known for their overlapping runs, will be used on the left side of the defence.
Guyana, who also defeated Bermuda 2-1 to top Group B on a better goal difference over the Soca Warriors, have moved up the FIFA rankings to 116th and will be hunting a third straight victory.
The Jaguars have only a few familiar names like Charles Pollard, Walter Moore and Vurlon Mills, who played in Trinidad’s Pro-League. But they have been boosted by several English-based players such as Charlton Athletic’s defender Leon Cort, Ricky Shakes, brothers Howard and Jake Newton, striker Shawn Beveney and Alaniani Mounter.
Gregory “Jackie Chan” Richardson, who played in Barbados a few seasons ago for top local side Notre Dame, was also due in from his United States team Puerto Rico Islanders, last night.
Team captain Christopher Nurse, a midfielder, also plays in the United States A-League.
The Guyanese had a minor hiccup yesterday as they were relocated from their hotel in Sunset Crest, St James to a hotel on the south coast, but coach Jamaal Shabazz said it wasn’t a major problem.
“It was just a matter of space. This hotel where we are now is more comfortable and group-oriented. It is nothing to hamper our relationship with Barbados,” he said.
They were also not able to have their scheduled practice session at the match venue because of the heavy rainfall yesterday but Shabazz said they had a good training session at Blenheim “B”.