Guyana gearing up for the challenge of facing Guatemala

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CONCACAF Gold Cup Draw…

“Guatemala is one of the strongest teams in the preliminary groups. They have a good style, similar to (the styles of) El Salvador, Costa Rica, Mexico (and) Honduras, and (they) 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.”
Those were the words of Head Coach of the Guyana Senior Men’s National Football Team, Márcio Máximo, following the CONCACAF Gold Cup Draw last evening. Guyana has been pegged with Guatemala in the preliminary round.
The inaugural draw, done virtually, was held in Miami, Florida on Monday September 28 at 20:00hrs and streamed on multiple channels. Máximo was among other participating head coaches who viewed the proceedings virtually and participated in the post-draw press conference.
Guyana, Máximo has said, will approach that 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 (in order) 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 Head Coach has said.
Commenting on the strategic approach to the players’ development, even as Guyana remains competitive, Máximo said a good combination of locally-based and internationally-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 (that) 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,” he affirmed.
“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,” the Head Coach asserted.
While noting the effects of the pandemic on training and match-readiness, especially on the Guyana-based players, Máximo said the preparatory time should allow for a competitive selection process.
“We have been sending weekly fitness programmes for the Guyana-based players, and we hope that they have been following the programmes. 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,” he opined.
President of the Guyana Football Federation, Wayne Forde, shares Coach Máximo’s optimism. “The Guyana Golden Jaguars have 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,” he declared.
“We have to respect the quality this team (Guatemala) will present on the day, but I would say (that) whatever we lack in quality we will surely make up (for) 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 (whipping the team into shape) 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…!” Forde opined.
CONCACAF has detailed 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:

Round One
Matchup #1: Haiti vs St. Vincent and the
Grenadines
Matchup #2: Guatemala vs Guyana
Matchup #3: Trinidad and Tobago vs Montserrat
Matchup #4: Cuba vs French Guiana
Matchup #5: Guadeloupe vs Bahamas
Matchup #6: Bermuda vs Barbados
Round Two
Matchup #7: Winner Matchup #1 vs Winner
Matchup #6
Matchup #8: Winner Matchup #2 vs Winner
Matchup #5
Matchup #9: Winner Matchup #3 vs Winner
Matchup #4

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 quarterfinals onwards.
In previous editions, teams have competed only 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.

The knockout stage will be played as follows:
Quarterfinal #1: Winner Group D vs Second
Place Group A
Quarterfinal #4: Winner Group B vs Second
Place Group C
Quarterfinal #2: Winner Group A vs Second
Place Group D
Quarterfinal #3: Winner Group C vs Second
Place Group B
Semifinal #1: Winner Quarterfinal #1 vs
Winner Quarterfinal #4
Semifinal #2: Winner Quarterfinal #2 vs
Winner Quarterfinal #3
Final: Winner Semifinal #1 vs Winner SF #2

Source Guyana Times

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