Sep 30, 2020 Sports
2021 Concacaf Gold Cup – Guyana vs Guatemala
By Franklin Wilson
Two of the main minds behind Guyana’s ‘Golden Jaguars’ with regards to setting the pathway towards success, Guyana Football Federation (GFF) President Wayne Forde and Head Coach Márcio Máximo are of the view that this nation can make it to the main draw of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup set for the USA.
Following the first ever Gold Cup draw which was held on Monday night in Miami, Guyana was drawn to play Guatemala in their Preliminary Round match, the preliminary matches are set to take place between July 2-6 at venues to be announced by Concacaf in the coming months.
Twelve Concacaf nations including the Guyanese will battle for the final three spots in the 16-team Group Stage.
On debut at the 2019 edition of the Concacaf Gold Cup, the Golden Jaguars ended their three Group D matches with a draw against Trinidad and Tobago following losses to Panama 2-4 and the USA, 0-4; Guyana ending ahead of T&T which lost to Panama 0-2 and USA, 0-6.
President Forde in an invited comment said that Guyana’s Golden Jaguars would have had to claw their way through many challenges on and off the field over the years and coming up against Guatemala would not by any means be an insurmountable challenge.
“We have to respect the quality this team will present on the day but I would say whatever we lack in quality – we will surely make up with courage and grit. Our Boys were unlikely to be in this position given the poor start to their Nations League campaign but they all dug very deep and redeemed themselves, which is a true reflection of the character of this Team and its leadership under Coach Maximo.
It will require an extraordinary undertaking to be ready for Guatemala in eleven months and I am confident that this entire Nation will answer that call.It will be difficult but not impossible…!”
The support of the new government would be vital towards Guyana’s aim of making it back to back in the main arena of this confederation’s
flagship men’s competition. Minister of Sport Charles Ramson Jr. has already exhibited his desire and that of the government to advance sports beyond where it has ever been.
This is now another great opportunity for the new Minister, who is a strong lover of sports, to rally with the GFF to ensure that the Golden Jaguars receives what it takes to make this nation proud once again.
For sure, Head Coach Márcio Máximo is out to ensure that his charges are fully prepared for combat come next year.
The Brazilian, like Forde has stated that the Guatemalans must be respected as a seasoned nation at this level but is also confident that once the work in put in inclusive of warm up matches, Guyana can take care of business.
“For me, Guatemala is almost the best team in the preliminary rounds because they have a lot of experience, South American style similar to Brazil, Mexico, El Salvador, Costa Rica, for me it’s the same style. It would be very difficult for us but if we have good preparation we can represent well and surprise Guatemala.
I hope to do some friendly matches before against national teams with the same style like Nicaragua for example so our players can adapt and be ready for them.”
Máximo noted though, that we cannot also forget the fact that we also should be focused on the World Cup qualifying which is also critical as this will not be home and away but just one game to play.
“So, we should pay attention, we should prepare well. We hope that soon we’ll come back and start training on our pitch with our local players; of course we are still monitoring our international players and I hope that we do well in both competitions.”
The head tactician noted that the Guyanese team now is a fast team having altered the system a bit to suit the kind of players available.
“I think that it is the best system for players that we have, we put Bobb, Callum, Benjamin, all with a lot of speed and very fast players that can give to us the very fast offensive transition and good re-composition in defensive transition as well.”
He is looking forward for the team to be able to play matches at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence which would encourage massive fan support for the team.
“I hope that we can play at Providence Stadium which is more closer to the City because I would like massive support for our team in home matches for World Cup qualifying even our friendly matches that we would be organising. I think that at Providence you can attract more fans to support the team.”
Meanwhile, Máximo was to re-emphasize that what the GFF, Technical Director Ian Greenwood, Director of Coaches Education and his Technical team are focusing on is real development.
“We are developing out local players as well, we are doing similar to what Venezuela would have done about eight to ten years ago in South America. Now Venezuela among the best teams at that level so it’s very important to say it, we are focused on developing and investing in our local players.”
The new format of the GFF is to ensure that local players are very much a part of the training and final squad of players.
“This is real development because we encourage our local players to play football, we encourage our local players to follow football, that’s why we will continue this procedure and we as a nation will excel with the backing of all stakeholders and our beloved fans.”
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