Cox optimistic about future of Guyana football

Guyana's Samuel Cox (yellow jersey) shakes hands with Je-Vaughn Watson of Jamaica prior to their Caribbean Cup match on October 11, 2016, in Leonora, Guyana.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- Guyana international Samuel Cox is optimistic about the future of football in the northern South American nation.

The former Tottenham Hotspur youth product says despite being eliminated last month from the 2016/17 Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup after extra-time losses to Suriname (3-2) and Jamaica (4-2) in the third round, there are some exciting times ahead for the Golden Jaguars.

“I think if you look at the performances against Jamaica and Suriname, then it is clear that there has been an improvement in the team,” said Cox. “The players, staff and management gave a great account of themselves and we gave everything we had.

“As disappointing and heartbreaking that it was not getting the result, I feel everyone can be proud of the performance that day. With a full strength squad and the inclusion of players such as Neil Danns, Sheldon Holder, Chris Nurse, Matthew Briggs and Emry Welshman we know we can be a strong force in Caribbean football.”

The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) recently appointed Ian Greenwood as technical director and Cox, who plays with Wealdstone FC in England, believes this appointment -- in addition to other elements behind the scenes -- will spur football’s growth in Guyana.

“I believe that this team has huge potential,” the 26-year-old stressed. “With the appointment of Greenwood and plans falling into place for the GFF, there are exciting times ahead. We have talented players playing locally and overseas and I feel that it is a matter of time before the potential is fulfilled.

“The caliber of overseas based players we now have access to is a huge boost for the side. Players such as Matthew Briggs and Neil Danns play regularly in the English Football League, whilst players like Warren Cravale and Emry Welshman are star players in their respective MLS sides. That is the standard we are attracting.”

While Guyana’s next competitive match is more than a year away, Cox hopes the time is used to help achieve the ultimate objective – qualify for a major international competition. The development of players through the GFF Stag Elite League is critical to that process.

“Local-based players now have a league for the first time,” finished Cox. “It's a great showcase for them to be playing competitively within the league. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals. With long term consistency and hard work on and off the pitch, I do feel that one day Guyana can qualify for their first major tournament. Once facilities improve and we are playing regularly I believe we can also one day be considered as serious contenders in Caribbean football.”