Former England youth international Matthew Briggs will captain Guyana’s senior men’s national team in its two 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in June.
Briggs, who plies his trade in the Danish Superliga for Vejle Boldklub, will lead the side in its must-win Group F fixtures against St. Kitts and Nevis on June 4 and Puerto Rico on June 8.
“I’m honoured to accept the captaincy – it’s always been a dream of mine to captain a national team so I am thoroughly excited to get this journey started and to see what the future holds,” said 30-year-old defender Briggs, who was the youngest player to play in the English Premier League when he made his debut for Fulham aged 16 years and 68 days in May 2007.
“We’ve got two games coming up and I hope we all give 110 percent like I know we will. We’ve got all the capabilities to go and win both of these games.”
Briggs made his first international appearance for the Golden Jaguars in a 2-0 friendly win against Grenada in 2015. Capped 14 times so far, he scored his first goal for Guyana in a 4-2 victory over Aruba in the Concacaf Nations League in November 2019.
“There’s excitement in the camp. Going on the last camp, we didn’t perform to our full potential, which was disappointing for us, so we are excited to get into these two games now and put that right. We want to win both games. I look at both these games and I think we are favourites to win them. I think we will be the better team and we’ve got more than enough quality to win both of these games.”
Head Coach Marcio Maximo said Briggs was a natural choice to lead the team because of the professional example he set to the other players during matches and away from the field of play.
“Equally important as performance and attitude on the pitch is attitude off the pitch – that is why we have chosen Briggs,” Maximo said. “He always showed good commitment and a professional attitude. He stimulates all the younger players to follow his example. He is always at the same level in good and bad times, totally professional, and the players respect him.”
The Golden Jaguars are training in Antigua before departing for St. Kitts and Nevis on June 2 for their last two first round matches. After a 3-0 loss against Trinidad and Tobago and 4-0 win over the Bahamas in March, Guyana lies in third place in Group F and requires favourable results elsewhere to reach the second round. Only the top team from each group will progress.
“We wish Matthew all the best as he skippers the Golden Jaguars for the first time in June,” said Guyana Football Federation President Wayne Forde. “It’s a great honour to lead one’s country, and we know Matthew has got everything it takes to be an inspiration and example to his team on and off the pitch.”
“We would also like to pay tribute to Sam Cox, who has captained Guyana with passion and dedication in recent years. Sam has been a great ambassador and warrior for Golden Jaguars. The whole nation is grateful for his service in leading Guyana to some of its greatest moments on the pitch, including reaching its first men’s Concacaf Gold Cup in 2019,” Forde said.