Guyana will approach Guatemala with confidence- Coach Maximo

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“Guatemala is one of the strongest teams in the preliminary groups. They have a good style, similar to El Salvador, Costa Rica, Mexico, Honduras and will be challenging for us, but I think it’s a challenge for us because it will raise the level of our game and serve as a motivation to do extra, to make an extra effort to try and surprise Guatemala.”

That was the reaction of Head Coach of the Guyana Senior Men’s National Team, Márcio Máximo, following the Concacaf Gold Cup Draw on Monday evening, which saw Guyana being pegged with Guatemala in the preliminary round.

The inaugural draw, done Virtually, was held in Miami, Florida, on Monday, September 28 at 20:00h and streamed on multiple channels. Máximo was among other participating Head Coaches who viewed Virtually and also participated in the post-draw press conference.

Guyana, Máximo said, will approach the game with confidence even though a large Guatemala fan base is expected at the match.

“We have a chance to qualify, of course. We have changed the style of the team. The team is faster in offensive transition and we have done some improvement in the defensive structure to have more consistency. We will have to reduce the pace of the game for Guatemala and I think if we do good marking with a good, solid defensive system, we can have a surprise for Guatemala. Why not? We will approach the match with confidence.”

Guyana’s Golden Jaguars will be among 12 participating teams in the preliminary round of the Gold Cup

Commenting on the strategic approach to player development even as Guyana remains competitive, Máximo said a good combination of Guyana and international-based players is necessary to achieve success.

“What we are doing in Guyana is real development because we will use our Guyana-based players in the process in good numbers. That’s why I believe in the few years coming, Guyana will be a powerful force in the Caribbean. A good combination of Guyana and international-based players is necessary to achieve success. International players are very important for their experience with the group. Quality Guyana-based players serve as a good motivator for young players to play football in Guyana and increase the followership of football in Guyana.  That’s why we compete and develop at the same time.”

While noting the effects of the pandemic on training and match readiness, especially on the Guyana-based players, Máximo said that the preparatory time should allow for a competitive selection process.

“We have been sending weekly fitness programme for the Guyana-based players and we hope that they have been following the programme. If not, we will have time as we have at least three months to prepare the players and I think that’s enough time to prepare our Guyana-based players for a competitive selection process.”

GFF President Wayne Forde

Meanwhile, President Wayne Forde echoed Coach Máximo’s sentiments.

“The Guyana Golden Jaguars has had to claw their way through many challenges on and off the field over the years and coming up against Guatemala in the Concacaf preliminary round, is not by any means an insurmountable challenge. We have to respect the quality this team will present on the day but I would say whatever we lack in quality – we will surely make up with courage and grit. Our Boys were unlikely to be in this position given the poor start to their Nations League campaign but they all dug very deep and redeemed themselves, which is a true reflection of the character of this team and its leadership under Coach Máximo. It will require an extraordinary undertaking to be ready for Guatemala in eleven months and I am confident that this entire Nation will answer that call. It will be difficult but not impossible…!”

Concacaf details the Rounds as follows: The 2021 Gold Cup will begin on July 2, 2021, with a Preliminary Round (Prelims) which will include 12 Concacaf Member Associations competing for the final three spots in the 16-team Group Stage.

For the two-round Prelims, the participating national teams have been divided into six matchups and will play as follows:

The Group Stage of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup will kick off on July 10, 2021. The 12 Concacaf national teams, which qualified directly through their performances in the Concacaf Nations League group stage, the guest participant, AFC Asian Cup Champions Qatar, and the three Prelims winners have been divided into four groups and will play as follows:

Group A: Mexico, El Salvador, Curacao and Winner Prelims 9

Group B: USA, Canada, Martinique and Winner Prelims 7

Group C: Costa Rica, Jamaica, Suriname and Winner Prelims 8

Group D: Honduras, Panama, Grenada and Qatar

The Knockout Stage, to be played among the top two finishers in each group, will for the first time in Gold Cup history see teams on opposite sides of the bracket meet from the quarter-finals onwards.

In previous editions, teams have only competed against opponents on the same side of the bracket until the Final. This change will add further unpredictability and excitement to the competition, which was expanded from 12 to 16 teams for a hugely successful 2019 edition. (GFF)

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