Golden Jaguars focused and ready for Gold Cup debut


Following their first training session since touching down in Minneapolis, ahead of their first match in the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup against the USA on Tuesday evening, Head Coach Michael Johnson has posited that the Golden Jaguars team is focused and ready for the task at hand.

This is Guyana’s debut at this prestigious tournament, the highest in the confederation and the Guyana Football Federation has afforded the team a vital period of encampment along with two friendly internationals to aid the team to bond and get their technical and tactical awareness in the best shape ahead of its Group D matches.

The Jaguars come up against the USA on Tuesday at the Allianz Field, St. Paul, MN; Panama on June 22 at the First Energy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio and Trinidad and Tobago on June 26 at Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, Kansas.

The team was taken through the paces at the National Training Centre on Friday afternoon by Johnson and his technical staff and once again exhibited lots of energy after their all-day journey from Costa Rica on Wednesday and a deserved rest day on Thursday.

Friday’s session, according to Johnson, was aimed at getting the players back in the groove and blowing the cobwebs off. More detailed work will now be the order for the next few training sessions, he informed, as they aim at finalising the starting XI and to ensure that they know their responsibilities.

Head Coach Michael Johnson is confident about the team’s prospects in the tournament

Citing the fact that the team has virtually been living together for the past two weeks, Johnson stated that the gelling of the team has gotten better with each day. “So relationships have started to develop, there’s a lot more understanding about people’s background and families, which draws people together; so they are a real tight-knit group.”

This kind of pulling together is what the Head Coach is positive would help the team through the Concacaf Gold Cup.

“We don’t have the big names like the Pulisic’ worth 52 million but we have got is really tight-knit group that is together and I think that you will always go further together.”

Johnson, who would also be making his debut as a Coach at the Gold Cup having represented the Reggae Boyz in the tournament, noted that the players can only do what they think they can do once they remain together as a team.

Nicknamed ‘Magic’ as a result of his exciting style of play during his tenure in the English leagues, Johnson once again called on the fans to play their role in rallying around the team, reminding that their support is crucial.

“The team can’t do it on their own, we need the fans to get behind us, we need the fans as an extra voice, we need the fans sending positive messages whether its via social media, on the radio or newspapers, you need to know that you are not out there on your own. Because we are massively the underdogs but it gives you great pride, it gives you great resilience when you know you are fighting for a cause and for your fans who we need to stand united behind the team and get us over this line.“

Citing that the team would thrive off the underdog mentality, Johnson said that the Golden Jaguars have an inner belief that they are going to do something special in the Group.

“Nobody has given us a chance at scoring a goal, winning a game, I’ve heard that you would not get a point, I’ve heard some of the media talking that it’s a great chance for USA to kick start their bad run of form but we are 100% positive in the way we would be approaching our matches.”

Honing in on the mental aspect of the game, Johnson informed that the enormity of the tournament is something that they have taken cognisant of. (GFF Release)

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