… We have a very talented pool of players to choose from – Lady Jags head coachHEAD coach of Guyana Women U-20 side, Dr Ivan Joseph, is anticipating an uphill task in naming his final list of 23 players for the upcoming FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup qualifier in the Dominican Republic. Guyana are drawn in Group D, where they were placed alongside Mexico, Puerto Rico and Nicaragua. The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) recently announced a list of 47 players, made up of mostly overseas-based players, who are currently being scrutinised on the training pitch. The best-possible squad will be selected to create history and be one of CONCACAF’s representatives July 3 – 23 at the FIFA World Cup in Costa Rica and Panama.Dr Joseph related that at his disposal, there’s “a very talented pool of players to choose from and that will make our decision very difficult. However, at the end of the day my primary responsibility is to always select the best possible squad from all players available to me for the final team.”In an earlier interview with Chronicle Sport, the Canada-based coach related that he was “lucky enough to have several of our players playing football in the United States universities and a few in Canadian universities and a few who have been playing year-round with their clubs. On top of that, what we’ve done also is put together several of our top players in an indoor league, so they’ll have a continuity of our system.”Stressing on the difficulty of putting together a squad worthy enough of not only competing at the Championship, but also qualifying, Dr Joseph opined, “I would be lying to you if I said it was an easy task, pulling together a national team that’s from multiple countries, from the diaspora, but the good news is, that we’re all committed to the same thing and trying to get better and get fit.”However, with the absence of any meaningful and continuous female football programme in Guyana, Dr Joseph said, “I’m nervous that our Guyana-based players, who don’t have the same level of playing meaningful games, may be missing a step off of speed, but we’ll do the best with what we can.”A release from the GFF noted that assistant coach Akilah Castello has been conducting training sessions for the Guyana-based players, while head coach Joseph is conducting training sessions in Toronto for all of the internationally based players.The Lady Jags will kick things off on February 23 when they come up against Nicaragua, and will then suit up against Puerto Rico on February 25, before facing Mexico on February 27 in their final Group D game.CONCACAF recently announced that their Council had determined that Costa Rica and Panama, as host countries of the World Cup, will automatically qualify to the World Cup and will no longer participate in the 2020 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship, meaning that the two remaining slots in the World Cup will be determined via the 2020 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship.For the group stage of the 2020 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship, to be played at the Felix Sanchez Stadium and Panamericano Stadium, in Santo Domingo and San Cristobal, respectively, Guyana (top-ranked team in qualifying Group A) and St Kitts and Nevis (top-ranked team in qualifying Group B) will be replacing Costa Rica and Panama for the group stage of the final championship.SHORTLISTED LADY JAGS:Horicia Adams (Foxy Ladies), Tiandi Smith (Fruta Conquerors), Taylor White (Oshawa Kicks OYSL), Stefani Kouzas (Laval FC), Brianne Desa (Durham United FC), Nailah Rowe (Durham United FC), Jade Vyfhuis (Markham SC), Rylee Traicoff (Durham United FC), Makayla Rudder (Unionville SC), Jessica Myers (Durham United FC), Kiana Khedoo (North Mississauga SC), Tori DeNobrega (Durham United FC), Aneesa O’Brien (Durham United FC), Hailey David (Pickering), Audrey Narine (Pickering), Gabriella Salvadore (Erin Mills Eagles), Nyla Oppenheimer (AJAX FC), Sydney Puddicombe (AnB Futbol Academy), Savannah Edwards (Durham United FC) and Serena Mcdonald (Richmond Hill).Asiyah Shakeek (Pickering Green U15), Megan O’Brien (North York Cosmos), Christina Antonopoulos (AnB Futbol Academy), Shanice Alfred (Richmond Hill), Raven Edwards-Dowdall (Senaca College), Nia Collins (Florida Kraze Krush ENCL), Anisa Roberts (Durham United FC), Sonaya O’Neil (North York Cosmos), Jaida Brooks (Durham United FC), Ashaya Doobay (Richmond Hill), Jenea Knight (Durham United FC), Samantha Banfield (United FA OPDL), Mariah Johnson (Pickering Green U15), Rory Scott (Unionville), Inari Moore (Laval FC) and Shacaylah Williams (Unionville).Stefani Kouzas (Laval FC), Jessica Jagdeo (Dixie Girls), Sidney Facey (Unionville-Milliken Soccer Club), Anaya Johnson (Woodbridge Strikers), Alliea Alleyne (Fruta Conquerors), Shamya Daniels (Fruta Conquerors), Amanda McKenize (Fruta Conquerors), Deekola Chester (Fruta Conquerors), Shontel Green (Foxy Ladies), Izannah Rogers (Fruta Conquerors), and Lensey Adolph (Upper Dem FC).