Maximo speaks: Nations League, local players and overall vision

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By Avenash Ramzan

Newly-appointed Golden Jaguars Head Coach, Marcio Maximo, has hit the ground running, fine-tuning the local-based players ahead of the Concacaf Nations League.

Guyana will play Aruba on September 6, and according to Maximo, while he is expecting a tough competition, he is eagerly looking forward to charting a course for the country’s senior football programme.

On Friday morning, Maximo was introduced to the local media by Guyana Football Federation president Wayne Forde and spoke of his first order of business- whipping the team in shape for the impending competition.

“For us we have three days (remaining in Guyana), but we studied videos already and we know some of the players. And we have three days there (in Aruba) to implement something, to add something…we can’t change it so much in three days, but except of us when we go to the competition to win. But we need to be realistic as well; you should understand it is not an easy way,” Maximo explained.

“We go to these games always optimistic and with positive energy, but we must remember the reality, we go to create conditions to be a winning team in the medium, long-term.”

Following the Aruba clash, Guyana, placed in Group C of League B with Aruba, Antigua and Jamaica, will play host to Jamaica on September 9. On October 11, they travel to play Antigua.

Four days later, Guyana will host Antigua, while the final two games will see the Jaguars having home advantage against Aruba on November 15 and then away to Jamaica on November 18.

Golden Jaguars players going through their paces on Friday

Exposing local talent

Maximo was hired for the post after his predecessor Michael Johnson prematurely ended his time with the Jaguars to take up an offer in England. Under Johnson, Guyana qualified for its first-ever Concacaf Gold Cup in 2019.

Looking ahead, Maximo spoke of developing a structure that will give more opportunities to home grown players and create a balance in the national team set-up.

“You should give time to them (local-based players). The team is not about assembling the players on a plane to go, no. You have to implement tactically, physically, mentally- everything you put is step by step. Gradually you put more youth players, more local players, but our objective is equal percentage because our local players don’t have experience that foreign players have, so you should have a balance,” Maximo stressed.

A focus on local players aside, Maximo spoke of his overall vision for the national team programme.

“I feel the team should be tactical and discipline, a composed team, a compact team with many variations, and most importantly discover our own style. You should have a style to play- a Guyana style,” the Brazilian nation envisaged.

The players had an intense session on Friday

New coach, same goals

Meanwhile, Forde said the appointment of Maximo should not be seen as a restart.

Commenting on the appointment for the first time since it was announced last week, Forde said the overall goals of the programme remain the same and the new coach has been duly informed of those.

“Clearly, we had a short space of time to make an important decision and I think the good in all of it is that we anticipate things as any good management will do, so we were already considering if certain eventualities appeared before us what are the decisions that would be likely taken,” Forde explained.

He added, “It’s not by any means a restart. I think what will be new is that with every new Head Coach they bring their own playing philosophy, their own model. You may see some of that; of course that is along the technical line, but in terms of the strategic direction of the Guyana Football Federation for the Golden Jaguars brand, it remains the same.”

“We want to be present in every international and major competition. We want to go back to the Gold Cup for the second time. We want to do well exceptionally well at the Nations League, so those goals remain right there. The coach is fully aware of those goals, and he may have differently methodology in terms of how he approaches those goals, but the goals are very clear. We’re dead set on creating a successful senior Men’s national team programme.”

Vastly experienced

Maximo comes to the post with a CONMEBOL pro license and over 30 years’ experience as a Coach and Coaching Instructor at both club and national team levels.

To date, he has coached the Brazil National U-17 and U-20 teams (1992-1993), Qatar National U-20 Team, Cayman Islands National Team (1999-2002), which resulted in Caribbean Cup and World Cup Qualification respectively, and the Tanzania National Team (2006 – 2010), where they reached qualifiers for the World Cup – Germany and South Africa – and also qualified for the African Cup of Nations for the first time ever.

The coach has also worked with club teams across the world including Germany, Saudia Arabia, Costa Rica and Scotland.

The new Head Coach will reside in Guyana during his eight-month tenure and will work with the Guyana-based senior national team players to improve their chances of breaking into the team.

He is also expected to contribute to the national development programmes and Coaching Education initiatives.

Following the conclusion of the Concacaf Nations League qualification, a performance evaluation will be done, which will inform next steps to be taken.

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