Guyana’s Gold Cup journey to hit “FIFA Football” TV show

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The Golden Jaguars’ historic qualification for this year’s Concacaf Gold Cup will take centre stage in a special Guyana edition of the weekly “FIFA Football” TV show to be broadcast to millions globally in April.

Guyana’s senior men’s national team qualified for its first-ever appearance at the Gold Cup with a thrilling 2-1 home win over Belize on Saturday, March 23.

The achievement has captured the imagination of audiences and football fans around the world, with Head Coach Michael Johnson attracting the attention of the BBC and Sky Sports.

A FIFA Football production crew was granted full, behind-the-scenes access to the squad’s preparations in Guyana, including exclusive interviews with Head Coach Johnson and players, including match winner Emery Welshman, goal scorer Neil Danns, fan favourite Stephen DukeMcKenna, Reading FC star Callum Harriott and Guyanese football legend Gregory “Jackie Chan” Richardson.

“When we realised that Guyana stood on the brink of qualification for the Gold Cup, we thought it would be a fascinating story to cover for our show,” said FIFA Football Producer Andrew Tomczak.

“We were delighted to be able to shadow the squad as they prepared for the biggest game in the country’s history and gained a fascinating insight into the people who were involved in making this dream real.”

The Guyana special edition, produced by Pitch International for global governing body FIFA, is scheduled for transmission on April 15 via broadcasters around the world and will then be available on FIFA’s YouTube channel.

“As well as being able to chronicle that incredible night of emotion and celebration, we were also able to spend some time travelling the country looking at some of the excellent grassroots and development work which is happening throughout the country,” Tomczak said.

The film crew, featuring cameraman Ricardo Sanchez, spoke to GFF President Wayne Forde, Technical Director Ian Greenwood and Youth Development Officer Bryan Joseph about the Federation’s pioneering national football development programmes, and filmed grassroots sessions in Georgetown and a regional youth academy clinic at the FIFA-funded National Training Centre in Providence.

“Guyana’s remarkable progress as a footballing nation is attracting international attention and raising the profile of our talent and our nation,” said GFF President Forde.

“We are excited to show the world the passion that all Guyanese have for the beautiful game. It was a pleasure to host the FIFA Football crew and to have the chance to showcase our nation, our talent, and our football development programmes alongside the incredible achievements of the Golden Jaguars.”

The crew also enjoyed a flying visit to the southern Rupununi region on the border with Brazil to experience and explore hinterland football culture, with trips to Kumu, St. Ignatius and Lethem.

“We were made to feel extremely welcome throughout the duration of our stay and left the country with nothing but good memories,” said Tomczak.

“Thank you Guyana! We look forward to showing you the final programme and hopefully providing a lasting chronicle of your achievements!”

The Concacaf Gold Cup takes place between June 15 and July 7. (An official GFF Release)

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