2021 Concacaf Gold Cup
With the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) announcing that this nations Senior Men’s National Team (SMNT) aka as the ‘Golden Jaguars’ has qualified for its second successive appearance at the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup, Head Coach of this team, Brazilian tactician, Márcio Máximo is aiming to further cement this nation’s history in the confederation.
Guyana first qualified for this tournament, the pinnacle of the sport in Concacaf in 2019 which saw the event being expanded from 12 to 16 teams with its first match played against the USA and witnessed by almost 20,000 fans at the Allianz Field in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Máximo who took charge in August 2019, presided a successful run for Guyana in the Concacaf Nations League, League B Group C which also included Jamaica, Antigua & Barbuda and Aruba; the Golden Jaguars ending second in the group which Jamaica won.
The Brazilian had taken over the reign of leading this flagship team after Michael Johnson was appointed Head Coach in June 2018 and resigned in August 2019 after he took up a new position in England.
Johnson it was, who led this nation on the historic journey of qualifying for its first Concacaf Gold Cup in 2019 where Guyana ended third in a tough group containing runners-up United States, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago.
An elated Máximo expressed gratitude to the President, Executive of the GFF as well as its Technical Director Ian Greenwood, his support staff and the players for the tremendous work they have all been doing to date and is confident that the best is yet to come.
Of the 12 teams (Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cuba, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Montserrat, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago) which will contest the Concacaf Road to Gold Cup Qualifiers in the week before the kick off of the Gold Cup Group Stages on July 10, 2021 in the USA, four will advance to the final 16 round of the Gold Cup.
“I’m extremely proud with the team and staff that worked hard for the Nations League, they deserve it. Our GFF President, Mr. Forde has
supported us extensively, he has given us the belief that we can do it and we applaud him for the programme the GFF has developed and for his visionary leadership.”
Máximo is stated that their target is not just to go to the USA to participate but to create further history.
He posited: “Our local players have to take extra motivation with this opportunity and work even harder than ever. All football community as fans, clubs, directors, media, sponsors, government and others should be integrated in this challenge. Everybody we will take benefits with football shining.”
The competition for places in the team would not be straight forward as players would have to earn their places, Máximo stressed. He informed that players coming from overseas does not have guaranteed places and would have to battle to earn same.
“If they come and just coming to enjoy, that will not work out as they must be able to understand the message and compete. Our locals is the same thing, there is no priority for nobody. Here we have around 70-players in our pool including many young players and the fight for the 20-places for the training and 14-places for the games would be intense.”
The experienced Head Coach further informed that along with his Technical Staff, they would be creating the challenges for the players who all have to display consistently, discipline, desire and commitment.
“We would be looking at creating a third category of players apart from the local and overseas known as export players; players that grow in Guyana like Cortez and play outside. In the future we would like eight (8) international players, eight (8) export players and eight (8) local players, the best and this is ideal.”
Máximo also believes that the local clubs have a duty to invest even more in the development of their players who can go on to make them proud as opportunities are opening up all the time for players to ply their trade overseas.
“Clubs need to invest more in their training, facilities and the likes to create more players, discover more players, to give opportunities to more players especially young players; this would really transform football in Guyana.”
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