Apr 12, 2021 Sports
By Franklin Wilson
With mixed results had in the first window of the Concacaf leg of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifying last month, Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Senior Men’s National Team (SMNT) Head Coach Márcio Máximo says he is positively pleased with the level of commitment shown by the players in the squad.
Guyana, which has moved up two spots (165) in the latest FIFA Coca Cola World Rankings released on April 7th last, went down to Trinidad and Tobago 0-3 in its first match (March 25) but rebounded against Bahamas (March 30) to win 4-0; both matches were played in the Dominican Republic owing to challenges presented by the global pandemic, covid-19.
The win by the Guyanese have breathed life back into their quest to qualify for the second round, with two remaining must-win first round matches against Saint Kitts and Nevis (away on June 4th) and Puerto Rico here in Guyana on June 8th to close out this round.
Saint Kitts & Nevis lead Group F qualifying with 6-points followed by T&T with 4-points, Guyana 3-points, Puerto Rico 1-point and Bahamas 0, all the nations playing two matches. Only the winner of the group will advance to the second round.
Building a solid foundation for the future of the sport in Guyana is a deliberate objective of the GFF stated Máximo, thus the involvement of so many young players which would continue to be part of the process and they would be integrated gradually in order to be effective.
Some eight players from the GFF Academy Training Centers (ATC) were named in the final 23-man squad which travelled to the Dominican Republic, they were Shawn Adonis (goalkeeper) Jeremy Garrett (defender), Nicolai Andrews (defender), Jobe Caesar (midfielder), Ryan Hackett (midfielder), Nicolas McArthur (forward), Omari Glasgow (forward – scored his debut goal against Bahamas; his 2nd senior cap) and Kelsey Benjamin (forward).
The experienced tactician working with his fifth national team further shared that the gradual process must be respected and is promising that the nation would be proud in the coming years with the level of investment being made at the moment to set Guyana apart in the region.
“The players can’t go straight from national programmes to line-ups, because if you do that and the player lose confidence, then you double time for him to recover. So, we have experience enough to say that the gradual process must be respected; of course, some players are exceptions and sometimes jump this process but most players should follow this gradual process.”
Having now introduced a fas
ter system of play to the team, Máximo further noted that players should graduate from the national programme into the squad, then have the opportunity to get some game time as the learning curve continues after which they would be included in the team line-up.
“I think we’re in the correct process, almost 50% of the players in this current national team are local based players. You would also notice that almost 40% of these players finished the games we played as the game is not predictable. Like I said before, you don’t have real development without local players included, that’s why you keep this balance and maintain the competitive level of the team.”
Not only the local group would be renewed as time goes by, Máximo informed that the overseas group would also see transformation from time to time as adding new blood is important.
“We renew not only local group like Jobe, Omari, Nicolai but we also renew the outside group, like Nathan Moriah-Welsh, Bayli Spencer Adams and Miguel Scarlett all first timers, along with the returning Kai McKenzie-Lyle, among others. We have a big gap between age 23 and 28 in this group which must be corrected. The work to bridge this gap should have started before so we now have to get our young talented players involved and prepare them to take Guyana game to the next level. As we evolve more talented youths would be added to the programme in keeping GFF Technical Director Ian Greenwood’s policy.”
Máximo acknowledged that the lack of playing in a consistent league along with not having friendly international matches brings its own challenges but given the current state of the world due to the pandemic, there’s nothing that can be done.
However, the GFF has been having training for the local based players’ five-days per week since January of this year. Following the matches away and a short break, training is expected to resume this week.
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