The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) has announced the appointment of former Jamaican international and UEFA Pro Licence holder Michael Johnson as the new Head Coach of the Guyana Men’s National Football Team, Golden Jaguars.
The federation in a press release yesterday informed that Johnson, who also holds a League Managers Association Diploma in Football Management, happens to be the most qualified national coach in the history of the Golden Jaguars.
The 44-year-old British national brings a wealth of professional coaching and playing experience to the role, alongside sparkling recommendations from the English Football Association, former England Manager Sven-Goran Eriksson and the English Premier League.
”I just can’t wait to get started – I’m really looking forward to the project the GFF President and the Technical Director have set out,” Johnson said. “The attraction of the role was the direction of Guyana: The GFF is looking to really make strides: to qualify for the CONCACAF Gold Cup and to break into the FIFA top 100. But it’s not just about results, it’s also about helping to grow the infrastructure of the country regarding coach education, youth talent, and the possible links between our nations – that’s what’s exciting.”
Johnson was the standout candidate from more than 200 applications received from all over the world. All but one of the shortlisted candidates selected by the GFF following a rigorous recruitment process had obtained the UEFA Pro Licence – the highest coaching qualification in global football.
”The GFF team is delighted to welcome Michael Johnson on board – the best qualified national coach in the history of the Golden Jaguars. With his professional expertise and top-level experience as a player, Michael will set a new gold standard for the football in Guyana,” said GFF President Wayne Forde. “The GFF is determined to elevate Guyana to the level it belongs – a Caribbean football powerhouse at the top of the regional rankings.”
”I also would like to take this opportunity to offer my heartfelt thanks and respect to former interim coach Wayne Dover for his ongoing service to football, and to the many impressive applicants for the huge interest generated by this role,” Forde said.
Johnson will visit Guyana shortly to meet the GFF team, players, football stakeholders and the national media, and to observe progress in the construction of the GFF National Training Centre at Providence. Full details of his visit will follow.
Johnson was part of the Jamaican national squad that competed at the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup and boasts a professional playing career spanning two decades in the English Football League Championship and the English Premier League with clubs such as Derby County and Birmingham City.
His coaching career includes successful stints at Cardiff City, Birmingham City and Notts County. He is currently an ambassador for Derby County, and it is expected that this connection will bring benefits for Guyana, including technical development exchanges, player scouting, and the hosting of training camps and international friendlies in England.
”Michael comes with outstanding references from the very highest level of the game, including former England Manager Sven-Goran Eriksson and the English FA. He fits perfectly with the profile we were looking for as we look to build for the future and prepare young Guyanese talent for success at international level,” said GFF Technical Director Ian Greenwood. “With Michael in charge, we are confident we can qualify for the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup, on our way to the 2026 FIFA World Cup.”
GFF Fact Sheet – Michael Johnson
Full name – Michael Johnson
Date of birth – 4th July 1973
Age – 44
Nationality – British
GFF National Men’s Team Targets
– First ever qualification for CONCACAF Gold Cup (Target: 2019)
– First ever qualification for FIFA World Cup (Target: 2026)
– FIFA top 100 ranking; CFU top 5 ranking
Michael Johnson’s Coaching Qualifications
– UEFA Pro Licence; UEFA ‘A’ and ‘B’ Licences; FA Youth Module 1, 2, & 3; FA Coach education course; League Management Association Diploma in Football Management
– Johnson is the most qualified national coach in the history of Guyanese football. The UEFA Pro Licence is the highest coaching qualification in global football e.g. required for Europe’s top tier divisions, the UEFA Champions League and Europa League.
– 2015 – Cardiff City U21 Assistant Manager
– 2012 – Birmingham City Academy Coach
– 2010 – Interim Notts County Manager
– 2009-11 – Notts County Youth Team Manager
– 2008-9 – Notts County U16s Manager
– Johnson’s profile fits our strategic plan to develop young, local talent to build a strong national programme and a men’s squad that can qualify for the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup and the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Professional Playing Career
– Jamaica international [1999-2006], 12 caps including 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup squad
– English Premier League and English Football League Championship as a defender for teams such as Derby County, Birmingham City and Notts County in a professional career in English football spanning 1991-2009
– Highlights – 1998/9 & 2000/1 voted Player of the Year for Birmingham City; 2001/2 promoted to English Premier League with Birmingham City; 2005/6 promoted to English Premier League as club captain with Derby County.
– 1991-1995 – Notts County – 107 appearances
– 1995-2003 – Birmingham City – 262 appearances, 12 goals
– 2003-2008 – Derby County – 138 appearances, 4 goals
– 2008-2009 – Notts County – 28 appearances
– Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson
– The FA Technical Director Dan Ashworth
– League Managers Association Chief Executive Richard Bevan
– Premier League Executive Director William Bush
Valuable Football Network
– Johnson’s extensive professional network will help to recruit UK-based players to strengthen the current national squad alongside our efforts to invest in the future and develop young local talent. Players we have earmarked include: Matthew Briggs – Barnet/former Fulham Defender; Callum Harriott – Reading/former England U-19 Winger; Ryan Fredericks – Fulham/former England U-19 Defender; David Stephens – Boreham Wood/former Wales U-21 Defender; Anthony Jeffrey – Sutton United Forward.
Leveraging Johnson’s role as Derby County Ambassador
– Johnson is an ambassador for English Football League Championship side Derby Country. The GFF aims to collaborate with Derby County on a range of areas:
– Training camps and international friendlies at Derby County
– Player pathway to the EFL for Guyana national youth team players
– Coaching and administrative exchanges
– Sports science/performance analysis support and training
– Equipment: boots, gears, clothing, etc
– Create Derby County supporters club in Guyana
– Community programme – the Derby County Community Trust is currently working in Kenya, which could be replicated in Guyana.
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