Guyana will be ready for 2026 World Cup – Vurlon Mills
By Akeem Greene
The 2018 FIFA World Cup is now in full swing in Russia and to date there has been heartbreak and joy for some of the favourites.
For seasoned Golden Jaguars campaigner Vurlon Mills, the joy for Guyana will come when the team qualifies for the 2026 edition scheduled to be jointly held in Mexico, Canada and United States of America.
In a recent exclusive interview with News Room Sport, Mills, who last played competitively for Guyana in 2016 when Jamaica rallied from behind to beat the Golden Jaguars 4-2 at Leonora, West Coast Demerara, is of the strong contention the Golden Jaguars can meet the illustrious goal of qualifying for the 2026 World Cup.
“The shortest time I give us is the next two World Cups and it is not going to be sooner than that. For me right now, we are at a developmental stage, a rebuilding stage, we are not at a stage where we already have a team to prepare; we are at a stage where we are developing players to reach that level. I think at least by the next two to three World Cups then we will be ready to be there,” the 30-year-old, who is now a coach, conveyed.
In the 2014 World Cup qualifying for the CONCACAF region, Guyana lost to Mexico at the semi-final stage; it remains the closest the county has ever come to qualifying for a World Cup.
Mills, who was part of that World Cup campaign, scoring two goals in the qualifiers, further stated that he always believes Guyana has the quality to play at the top level.
“Just watching the World Cup play, all the hair on your skin wants to raise because you feel as though you should be there,” Mills said.
He added, “I talk a lot of players that play in Europe, that play in the Premier League, the difference is just where Guyana is to where they are and the opportunity of the local players to the European players. They of themselves told me Guyana has the talent to play anywhere and they always question, why you not in Guyana, why are you not playing in North America, but it is the opportunity to get there and for me I think I have the ability just as those players, but it’s all about the opportunity.”
Golden Jaguars’ new Head Coach Michael Johnson, who is former Jamaican international, is hoping to break Guyana back into the 100 of the FIFA rankings, hopefully bettering their 86 rank in 2010 under coach Jamaal Shabazz. They are currently ranked 182.
Guyana Football Federation President Wayne Forde recently stated the federation is working to ensure Guyana makes a giant leap and qualify for the 2026 event.