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Golden Jaguars to play four games in Brazil ahead of World Cup Qualifiers

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The Golden Jaguars are currently on a two-week training camp in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as they gear up for their first 2026 World Cup Qualifier match against Panama on June 6.

The camp, which has been organised and hosted by the Rio de Janeiro State Transport Secretary, Washington Reis, commenced on May 19 and involves 28 home-based and international players.

The invitation for the team camp was extended by Reis and facilitated by Guyanese businessmen Faizal Khan and Kabir Khan to provide the Senior Men’s National Team (SMNT) with a new environment to hone their preparations for the 2026 World Cup.

During the camp, the SMNT will be thoroughly tested with four matches against Fluminense FC, the reigning champions of Brazil’s National League and winners of the Copa Libertadores in South America; Flamengo FC, celebrated as one of Brazil’s premier clubs with the second-largest global fanbase; the CAXIAS FC, Reis’ second Division Club; and Club America, whose president is Brazil’s former superstar striker Romário de Souza Faria, now a Senator.

Goalkeeper coach Eon Deviera (green shirt) going through the paces with his charges (Photo: GFF)

Reis, the Brazilian official, said that he is delighted to be able “to host the Guyana National Football Team, as the start of building stronger relationships between Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, and Georgetown, Guyana.”

In response, GFF President Wayne Forde shared that the Federation welcomes partnerships that contribute to the progress of football, ranging from grassroots initiatives to the national team programme.

“I want to thank State Transport Secretary, Washington Reis, for inviting our national team to train in Rio de Janeiro. This opportunity allows the Golden Jaguars to prepare for the 2026 World Cup qualification campaign in a new setting and with the opportunity to play against formidable opponents within Brazil’s club system.”

Forde added: “The GFF is investing heavily in these crucial pre-tournament camps, which are essential to the evaluation and selection of the final squad. The generous hosting support being offered by Secretary Reis will contribute significantly to the impact of this camp. This is truly a fine example of the power of partnership and the huge benefits we can derive from these multi stakeholder initiatives.”

Businessman Faizal Khan added his voice and said: “I am happy to facilitate this opportunity as this is the type of public/private collaboration that will build long-standing footballing and business relationships between both Guyana and Brazil. I commend President (Irfaan) Ali for supporting this project through the Ministry of Sports as well as the GFF for accepting our invitation.”

Meanwhile, Golden Jaguars Head Coach Jamaal Shabazz said the games against the Brazilian clubs will undoubtedly help the players get into the correct mindset to start their World Cup journey.

He shared that he will use the training period to “develop a distinctive playing style within our tactical framework, both in possession and out, during transitions and set-piece scenarios, while fostering a strong team spirit and confidence among the squad, enabling the players to deliver their optimal performance for Guyana.”

Following their match against Panama on June 6 in Panama City, the Golden Jaguars will then take on Belize in Barbados on June 11.

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