Cox draws inspiration from historic Gold Cup memory

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By Avenash Ramzan

March 23, 2021, marked two years since Guyana qualified for the Concacaf Gold Cup for the first time.

The man at the helm then, Samuel Peter Cox, is back to take up another challenge, this time leading the Golden Jaguars in the first round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

With the Jaguars set to face Trinidad and Tobago this evening (March 25) in the Dominican Republic, Cox has been reminiscing on the historic moment, one he hopes can inspire his men on the field.

“All of us were looking back at the memories since that historic day where all proud Guyanese were there to witness history being made and our first qualification for a major tournament,” Cox said at a Virtual press conference on the eve of the T&T clash.

“The proudest moment of my career without a doubt, and I still look back at that video today and I still get goosebumps just at the adulation and the joy that moment gave the nation- qualifying for the Gold Cup.”

“It’s something we want to replicate- that feeling, that emotion of joy and trying to build on what we’ve done already.”

That Gold Cup qualification was sealed following a hard-fought 2-1 win over Belize at the National Track and Field Centre, Leonora, with Neil Danns and Emery Welshman being the scorers for Guyana.

Cox, 30, intimated that as much as they can reflect and savour those memories with fondness, the present is about channeling their focus and energies on what’s next for the Senior National Men’s Team programme.

“It’s about how we’re going to improve on that and how we can create even more history. That’s always going to be hard to replicate because that was a moment in time, but we do feel that there is definitely an opportunity for more history to be made,” the skipper pointed out.

Sam Cox and his players at training on Wednesday evening in the Dominican Republic

That next chance at scripting another chapter in Guyana’s football history presents itself in Santo Domingo this evening, followed by a clash against the Bahamas on March 30, and other Group F matches against St. Kitts and Nevis and Puerto Rico in June in the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers.

This will be followed by matches in the Gold Cup Prelim in July.

Cox revealed that since the 23-man squad- a combination of domestic and foreign-based players– linked up last week, there has been great camaraderie in the camp and the they are raring to go against Trinidad and Tobago.

On the last two occasions these nations met, the games ended 1-1.

“Preparations have been really good. It’s been an intense couple of days. We’ve hit the ground running, especially those first couple of days getting acclimatised to the environment; the international boys integrating with the local players was something that seemingly happened easily to be honest. The connection between all of us has been brilliant and we’re all looking forward to the game,” Cox explained.

“It’s going to be a highly competitive game, but primarily we’re focusing on what we’re going to do, how we’re going to get the advantage technically and tactically, psychologically and mentally. We’ve done quite a bit on the board and in video analysis on their (T&T) game, but our strength is going to be our speed, tactical understanding and we’ve got something up our sleeve which we’ve changed from the last camp.”

“It’s going to be an interesting game, highly competitive and I know for sure we’re all ready to go to war against Trinidad and Tobago.”

Game time is 19:00h, and the match will be shown on E-Networks.

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