The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) has appointed former Jamaica international and Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Pro-License holder Michael Johnson as the head coach of the men’s national football side and has given him performance targets.
According to a press release from the GFF Johnson’s targets are qualification for 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup and the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Holder of the UEFA Pro License and the League Managers Association Diploma in Football Management, Johnson is the most qualified national coach in the history of Guyana’s football.
“1 just can’t wait to get started – I’m really looking forward to the project the GFF President and the Technical Director have set out,” Johnson said.
The 44-year-old British national brings a wealth of professional coaching and playing experience to the role.
Along with his qualifications, he has received sparkling recommendations from the English Football Association, former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson and the English Premier League.
“The attraction of the role was the direction of Guyana: The GFF is looking to really make strides: to qualify for the CONCACAF Gold Cup and to break into the FIFA top 100. But it’s not just about results, it’s also about helping to grow the infrastructure of the country regarding coach education, youth talent, and the possible links between our nations – that’s what’s exciting,” Johnson said of his reasons for wanting to coach the Golden Jaguars.
According to the GFF release, he was the standout candidate from more than 200 applications received from all over the world.
“All but one of the shortlisted candidates selected by the GFF following a rigorous recruitment process had obtained the UEFA Pro License – the highest coaching qualification in global football,” the GFF release stated.
GFF president Wayne Forde was enthusiastic about Johnson’s appointment.
“The GFF team is delighted to welcome Michael Johnson on board – the best qualified national coach in the history of the Golden Jaguars. With his professional expertise and top-level experience as a player, Michael will set a new gold standard for the football in Guyana,” said Forde.
Forde said the goal now was to position Guyana at the top of Caribbean football.
“The GFF is determined to elevate Guyana to the level it belongs – a Caribbean football powerhouse at the top of the regional rankings.
“I also would like to take this opportunity to offer my heartfelt thanks and respect to former interim coach Wayne Dover for his ongoing service to football, and to the many impressive applicants for the huge interest generated by this role,” Forde said.
Johnson is expected to visit Guyana shortly to meet the GFF executives, the national team, other players, football stakeholders and the national media, stated the release.
He will also observe the progress of the construction of the GFF National Training Centre at Providence, the release added.
Johnson was a member of the Jamaica national squad that competed at the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
He boasts a professional playing career spanning two decades in the English Football League Championship and the English Premier League with clubs such as Derby County and Birmingham City.
His coaching career includes successful stints at Cardiff City, Birmingham City and Notts County. He is currently an ambassador for Derby County, and it is expected that this connection will bring benefits for Guyana, including technical development exchanges, player scouting, and the hosting of training camps and international friendlies in England, the GFF release stated.
“Michael comes with outstanding references from the very highest level of the game, including former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson and the English FA. He fits perfectly with the profile we were looking for as we look to build for the future and prepare young Guyanese talent for success at international level,” said GFF Technical Director Ian Greenwood.
“With Michael in charge, we are confident we can qualify for the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup, on our way to the 2026 FIFA World Cup,” said Greenwood.