2021 Gold Cup: Six months of serious preparation needed, says Forde

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‘Six months of serious preparation or we’re in trouble.’

That’s the contention of President of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), Wayne Forde, as Guyana prepares for a busy first half of 2021.

Guyana’s senior national Men’s team, the Golden Jaguars, are down to compete in the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers and the Gold Cup Prelims, and Forde, during an exclusive interview with News Room, touched on the preparatory phase that all teams would have to go through.

Speaking specifically as it relates to the Gold Cup, Forde noted: “I think if we’re unable to put in at least six months of serious preparation we will be in trouble. And I think I speak for any other country that is still battling the global pandemic.”

“We want to be able to play at least two practice games before we go into that (Gold Cup) tournament. Our players have essentially been out of football; we have some our international players that have now resumed playing because their Leagues have restarted in North America and Europe, but in our region most of the Caribbean nations haven’t been able to play any football.”

Such a scenario, Forde pointed out, presents “a real problem for any nation preparing for such a major competition.”

“Essentially, we will be at a disadvantage. Unless we can a find a way working with all stakeholders to get in six serious months of preparation we will be in problems and there is no reason why we should not say this very clearly to everyone involved.”

At the first-ever Gold Cup draw on September 28 in Miami, the Golden Jaguars were drafted alongside Guatemala in one of six Round One Prelim games.

Based on the draw, should Guyana beat Guatemala, they would go on to face either Guadeloupe or Bahamas in Round Two. If they win that second contest, they will qualify in Group C, alongside Costa Rica, Jamaica and Suriname.

“The way that I look at football is that there are really no easy opponents these days. Everyone, in particular the Caribbean region, has been making the necessary investments to put forward the best possible national team, and while we may have some of our stakeholders claiming that that was a very difficult draw for Guyana, I think we have to give respect to any of the teams that in previous years may have been considered lesser opponents,” Forde explained.

He added, “I’m very positive. I think we have confidence in our programme. I certainly do have confidence in my national team, management staff, starting from the Head Coach (Marcio Maximo) and the supporting cast below him. The Concacaf Gold Cup will require tremendous preparation from our standpoint and I’m very positive that we can go out and compete with Guatemala and any other Concacaf nations that are considered strong teams within the Confederation. So I’m not worried about the draw at all.”

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