Jun 16, 2021 Sports
Kaieteur News – Expression of gratitude to sponsors and GoG: I would like to begin by thanking our sponsors and the Government of Guyana, through the Minister of Culture Youth and Sports Mr. Charles Ramson Jr., for supporting the Golden Jaguars’ participation in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign.
I would like to welcome our new partner Blue Water Shipping, who provided the sponsorship which allowed us to live stream the game against Puerto Rico via our official Facebook page. I am pleased to report that more than 34,000 viewers watched that game.
Statement: The Golden Jaguars’ 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign did not go as we had planned or expected and we are all very disappointed. While there are positives to take away from each game, not least the promising performances of our young talent, it was heartbreaking to see the team consistently conceding soft goals in the early stages of the three games that we lost.
Following on from the Golden Jaguars’ historic qualification and appearance at the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup, which was further cemented by the team’s solid performances in each game, we can surely understand the high expectations of the fans and other stakeholders, and we share in their disappointment.
The GFF has consistently stated that its strategic focus is to qualify for the expanded FIFA 2026 World Cup and, while four years may seem to be a long time ahead, it is our intention to start the integration of new talent into the national team programme now by building a squad that will reach its peak in time for that qualification process.
However, we also understand the importance of maintaining public confidence as we pursue this ambitious goal. As a stepping stone towards this ultimate goal, it was one of the senior men’s national team’s targets this year to reach the second phase of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. We would, therefore, have to accept that, while the successful integration of some potential stars of the future can be considered an encouraging step forward, the recent performance of the team fell short of creating the momentum we had hoped for.
While it is critical that we begin the grooming process of the generation of players that will be tasked with achieving the goal of 2026 qualification, it was never our intention to do this at the expense of the nation’s flagship football brand, and no-one within the national team programme should be saying otherwise.
The public expects the GFF to manage the changing cycles of our national teams in a responsible and smooth way, and it is absolutely important that we do all that we can to meet that expectation. Despite the extensive work being done with our domestic-based national team players, we have to acknowledge that the lack of competitive game time has proven to be rather unforgiving.
This is not for a lack of effort – the GFF had negotiated three international friendlies as part of our preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers: two against Suriname and one against Nicaragua. Unfortunately, both nations were unable to meet those commitments due to factors brought about by the Covid-19 situation here in Guyana and within their respective countries.
The resulting absence of these crucial warm-up games was an unavoidable set-back in the teams preparation. Next month, the ‘Golden Jaguars’ will make their second consecutive appearance at the Concacaf Gold Cup, albeit in the expanded preliminary round of the tournament. Head Coach Márcio Máximo and his Technical staff must now shift their focus to preparing the team for their opening game against Guatemala on July 3rd, 2021 in Miami.
We are planning to travel to Miami early, with the hope of playing two friendly games as part of our preparation for this important encounter. These friendly games are crucial in assessing the players’ level of match fitness and other performance benchmarks.
There is no doubt that Guatemala will be a tough obstacle in advancing to the round of 16, and we should be realistic about our expectations. However, we expect the squad and staff to give everything they have to cause Guatemala some serious problems throughout the match, and we know the support of the fans can make all the difference.
After the Gold Cup, the team will not be in competitive action until next year. We will use this time to further strengthen the development of our domestic-based national team players together with a consistent level of local and international games.
Building a National Team Programme: In closing, I would like to assure our loyal fans here at home and abroad, that the GFF has been making steady progress in laying a sturdy foundation for the long-term success of all of our national teams by investing in many key areas that were neglected by previous administrations.
Through the recently launched M-FAP programme, we continue to invest heavily in coaching education, infrastructure development, more football equipment and state-of-the-art data management technologies. We are providing unprecedented financial and material support to our members, so that they too can achieve their strategic goals.
While it will take some time before we realise the full returns on these investments, we can all take comfort in the positive performances of our youth national teams over the past five years as a firm validation that we are heading in the right direction.
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