After a two-year hiatus from international competition mostly due to the global pandemic, the Guyana national women’s indoor hockey team is scheduled to compete in the Indoor Pan Am Cup (IPAC) from June 25th to 27th in Pennsylvania, USA.
With training being suspended for most of 2020, the ladies resumed training under strict Covid-19 social distancing measures earlier this year and have been working hard to make up for lost time. Of course, all countries participating would have experiences various levels of disruption and so Guyana will not be the only participant needing to prepare a team in short time.
The ladies have been training at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall under the guidance of head coach Philip Fernandes. Only five players remain from the team that contested the last IPAC held for the first time in Guyana in 2017. Those players are goalkeeper Alysa Xavier, Trisha Woodroffe, Marzana Fiedtkou, Captain Gabriella Xavier and Aliyah Gordon. Added to the team will be defensive stopper Makeda Harding, the young Spartan trio of Abosaide Cadogan, Madison Fernandes and Sarah Klautky, experienced defender Ashley DeGroot and the baby of the team, Saints striker Clayza Bobb.
This is the youngest ever squad to represent Guyana but one that is packed with talent. Coach Fernandes however is very excited by the several teenagers in the line-up as he feels that they are among the most talented players we have seen in recent years in the women’s program and have responded well to the training. “It was a challenge to get the young players to understand systems and team attack and defence concepts in such a short time as there is no substitute for experience” Fernandes said “But these girls have the skills and hockey intelligence to be competitive.”
The team will face the host nation USA in their first match on Friday 25th at 11:30AM. The USA are the defending champions who represented the Americas in the last indoor world cup in Berlin, Germany. The USA is the top ranked Pan American team at #12 in the world and will further benefit from competing on their home court where the team has been encamped. Guyana is the lowest ranked team in the competition at #31 with Argentina at #16, Canada #18 and Uruguay #22.
After their clash with the USA, the Guyanese ladies then face Argentina at 6:00PM the same day before Canada and Uruguay the following day. According to Fernandes, while he does not place a limit on the team’s potential, he considers toppling any of the four powerhouse nations to be considered a success. The winner of this year’s IPAC secured the spot to represent the Americas in the next Indoor World Cup scheduled for Belgium in 2022.
The Covid-19 protocols for the competition unfortunately bars spectators from viewing the matches live. Matches will all be played at The Training Center in Spring City, Pennsylvania and will begin on Friday 25th June according to the schedule on the Pan Am website:
2021 Indoor Pan American Cup (Women) – Competitions – Pan American Hockey Federation (panamhockey.org)
The full Guyana squad reads:
Coach: Philip Fernandes
Manager: Princessa Wilkie