GOLD CUP: All to play for as Guyana, T&T clash in Kansas City today

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Guyana’s Golden Jaguars will wrap up their debut appearance at the Concacaf Gold Cup on Wednesday afternoon when they take on Trinidad and Tobago in a Caribbean derby at the Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City from 17:30h (18:30h Guyana time).

A sold-out crowd of 19,500 will be in the house to see the end of Group D action; the Golden Jaguars are ahead of the Soca Warriors in the standings by goal difference, both nations having lost their two matches to the USA and Panama.

While Guyana lost 0-4 to the USA and 2-4 to Panama, Trinidad were defeated 0-4 and 0-6 to Panama and the USA. Wednesday’s match-up is not being taken easily by Head Coach Michael Johnson, who acknowledged that his charges can only get better as they look forward to the challenge against a close friend but also a close rival.

“It will be an intriguing game that we’ll be ready for,” Johnson noted at Tuesday afternoon’s press conference held at the match venue, Children’s Mercy Park.

Accompanying coach Johnson at the press conference was defender Matthew Briggs, who plays with English club side Maldon and Tiptree. Briggs, who has been having a good tournament thus far, said that the players are looking forward to the clash with T&T.

“The players are really up for it, it’s like a local derby for us really and we just want to end the tournament on a high and it’s a game that we are more than capable of winning.”

Wednesday’s match would be Guyana’s third in Concacaf Gold Cup (CGC) history with two losses, scoring two goals whilst conceding eight. Neil Danns, the oldest player at age 36, has scored both the nation’s goals.

From left: Concacaf representative and press conference moderator, Guyana’s Head Coach Michael Johnson and player Matthew Briggs

For the twin-island republic, it would be their 30th match in CGC (15L, 7W, 38GF, 54GC); Jovevin Jones has eight appearances at CGC for them.

It will also be T&T’s 26th Group stage match at the CGC. They have now gone six games without a win and a goal, their last win was against UAE 2-0 in a friendly in 2018.

Johnson shared that Guyana will take away great enjoyment and pride from the tournament.

“I think the players would definitely be better for this experience. We have quite a young group and the group has spent the best part of four, five weeks living together so they started to understand more about themselves, more about their teammates and a lot of them have come into camp for the very first time so we’ll be stronger for this.”

Meanwhile, Bermuda, like Guyana, qualified for the Gold Cup for the first time and they secured their first points with a 2-0 win over Nicaragua in their final Group B match on Monday.

Johnson said he has been following the Bermudians against whom Guyana played a warm-up match earlier this month; he noted that it would be great for Guyana to also end this inaugural campaign by recording its first points.

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