National team pushes forward in spite of team composition concerns

Now that Guyana already qualified for the Gold Cup, many critics who were vocal about the team’s local to foreign player ratio, have been silenced. However, despite the concerns the management of the National team, is of the belief that the foreign line up has added to the quality of Guyanese football.

Golden Jags Captain Samuel Cox and Head Coach Michael Johnson

Prior to Guyana’s meeting with Belize many concerns were raised by football fanatics and critics about player who were not born in Guyana but had Guyanese lineage, which made up 1/3 of the national team. On the other hand, according to the Belize Coach Palmero Salas, their team had only 5 such players.
Captain of the Golden Jaguars, Samuel Cox, was very passionate about the subject noting that at the end of the day, they all consider themselves Guyanese.
“Five years I’ve been here, I’ve seen the ups, I’ve seen the downs, I’ve seen things that people in here don’t even know about. But I’ll tell you what, every single person behind the scenes has worked their socks off. And those players on the pitch and on the bench involved, they have just made history. That has never been done in this country before, we are the greatest team to achieve something. Whether it’s foreign based or local based, it doesn’t matter because we’re all one. One country, one team, one dream,”
From a more technical perspective, Head Coach Michael Johnson explained that the addition of foreign based players not only improved the level of football played by the National Team on Saturday night but they also assisted the local players.
“These players have played at the top end of the spectrum in England, you cannot dismiss Callum Harriott, Keanu Marsh- Brown. These guys have played premiere league football, to come and aid the country and give us that support that we definitely need. These guys are a pivotal part but also, within the training camp the standard that was brought was the best. But not only the best, because of the foreign based players but because of the local players who pulled up as well,”
From the perspective of the Guyana Football Federation’s President Wayne Forde, it matters not where Guyana’s players come from but their commitment to the game and Guyana’s development is what is important.
“We must recognize that this is a symbolic and tremendous accomplishment for Guyana. When we go and play in the Gold Cup, there are probably 40 million people on this planet that would hear the name Guyana for the first time and to me that is the point. So I do not pay any attention to the narrative that we try to tie ourselves to whether someone was born her or not. The fact that our guys are willing to come and wear the badge with honour and distinction is a privilege and we are happy that the came out tonight and gave 100% and brought us over the line,”
Going forward, Coach Johnson noted that it was too early to disclose his Gold Cup and Nations League plans, but promised greater things from the National team.
“There’s more to come, cause they’re going to develop with each other, their relationship is going to develop it’s going to get stronger, the group’s going to get better. The more time we spend, the more efficient it’s going to be, because we’re getting to know one another. We had a few debutantes tonight and I thought they played really well, there’s more in the tank and there’s also some good young players coming through as well. So I’m excited by the future,”
The Golden Jaguars, last Saturday, sealed their entry into the Gold Cup after defeating Belize 2-1 at the National Track and Field Center, Leonora. Neil Danns and Emery Welshman scored for Guyana and it was a full team effort to hold off Belize in the second half for the win.