At a joint press conference hosted ahead of their Thursday night international friendly at the Bermuda National Sports Center, the respective Head Coaches of both the host nation Bermuda and visitors Guyana have expressed that the match is about getting it right ahead of their debuts at this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The two nations have a lot in common as they continue their walk into history: the first time they have both qualified for the highest possible tournament in the Confederation. Guyana have been drawn in Group D along with the USA, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago while Bermuda is in Group B alongside Haiti, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
Sharing the Head Table were respective Head Coaches and Captains, Guyana’s Michael Johnson and Sam Cox and Bermuda’s Kyle Lightbourne and Dante Leverock with the moderator being Bermuda Football Federation (BFA) Press Officer, Antoine Augustus.
Johnson explained that Guyana would not be leaving its fate up to another country: “We just want to look after business ourselves, we can’t start looking and focusing on other teams and what they do and how they do. We’ve just got to go about our business and make sure we are mentally prepared, physically prepared and when we go out there, to perform at the standards that we know we are capable of doing. If we do that, where that takes us, we are more than happy.”
Johnson, who would be making his debut as a Coach at the CONCACAF Gold Cup having represented Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz as a player in 2010, noted that Guyana would not be showing much from a strategic standpoint as opposing teams would be on the hunt for information.
Lightbourne shared his thoughts on his aims for the Gold Cup: “We’re new to the competition; we’re a nation that’s growing so we are looking for a good performance from our players. If we play to our ability that we know we can play; don’t be afraid of the occasion, enjoy it and maybe put a couple teams on the back foot, that’s what we are looking for at this stage.”
Commenting directly on Thursday’s friendly, Lightbourne noted that they are expecting to see what they have been working on during training being executed in offence and defence: “All the stuff that we’ve been working on, we hope that we can see come out in this match, that’s the main priority of this match.”
Golden Jaguars’ Captain, Cox said that Guyana are looking forward to the match and are expecting a tough challenge from Bermuda, but suggested that the encounter would be used to build relationships: “…see what we are like in and out of possession and build towards the Gold Cup, but we know it’s going to be a competitive fixture and one that we are all looking forward to. Players have all got their heads on it, the focus is on the next two to three weeks, but Thursday is going to be a brilliant exercise for both sides for sure.”
The last time the two nations met, the match ended in a 1-1 draw and while a win would be accepted, the leading tacticians on both teams also agreed that that would not be the primary focus of the match.
Kick off time is 20:00h in Bermuda and 21:00h in Guyana.