- Les Yana Dokos are looking to return to the Gold Cup in 2021
- French Guiana are coming off a solid performance in League B of the Concacaf Nations League
MIAMI, Florida – In their history as a national team, French Guiana have reached one Concacaf Gold Cup, coming back in 2017 when they were unable to advance past the group stage.
Les Yana Dokos are looking to return to the Gold Cup in 2021, but to get there they will have to emerge from next July’s 2021 Gold Cup Prelims in the United States in which three teams out of 12 will punch their ticket to the tournament.
Despite a lack of international matches due to the Covid-19 pandemic, French Guiana are plenty motivated to make things count when they return to the field next summer.
“It’s disappointing that we cannot play in front of our fans in French Guiana, so that is a bit frustrating in that regard, but I am also happy that we get to play even though the pandemic is going on,” said French Guiana MF Thomas Vancaeyezeele in an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com.
“It’s going to be exciting and a little tough for us because we don’t play in World Cup Qualifying, so our last game was in November of last year and our next game is going to be the tournament basically. It won’t be easy for us because we will have not played for a year, but all of the players have to get ready and we’ll see how it goes,” added Vancaeyezeele.
With the Gold Cup Prelims featuring a single-elimination format, Vancaeyezeele know there is no margin for error.
“It is going to be a lot of pressure and a lot of excitement. There will be a lot of urgency because you cannot make any mistake. You have only one game and you have to give it your all. It’s going to be interesting and I’m really excited about it. The Gold Cup is the only major competition that we can play, so we have to give it our all for sure,” said Vancaeyezeele.
Needless to say, qualifying for the country’s second Gold Cup would be of great significance to Vancaeyezeele and his teammates.
“It would be great. We didn’t qualify for the last Gold Cup and in the Gold Cup before we had a situation with an ineligible player, so it would be huge for us to go back to the Gold Cup and show our quality, because in the past four or five years we couldn’t show that. We have a good group of players, some of them playing in the first and second French divisions, we want to show Concacaf that we deserve to be there and show our quality,” said Vancaeyezeele.
French Guiana are coming off a solid performance in League B of the Concacaf Nations League in which they finished second in a group with Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Belize. While it was overall a positive performance from Les Yana Dokos, Vancaeyezeele stresses that it will be imperative for French Guiana to cut down on mistakes in the Gold Cup Prelims.
“I think we played good soccer. I think we lacked efficiency especially in the two boxes. We didn’t score when we should have and we conceded some bad goals. I think we can improve a lot in that regard. When I look back on the Nations League, I was a bit disappointed because I think that we should have finished first if we hadn’t made as many mistakes, but at least we are still in it with qualifying,” said Vancaeyezeele.
On the field, Vancaeyezeele is eager to see French Guiana come together and deliver quality performance in the Gold Cup Prelims and mirror the strong bond that exists within the team off the field.
“The team is very enjoyable. The players get along with each other, so in that type of competition [Gold Cup Prelims], I think it’s really important. We have good players and we just need to show our quality and be focused and be efficient when it matters,” said Vancaeyezeele.
Yet no matter if it is the Nations League, Gold Cup or an international friendly, every time he puts on the French Guiana shirt, Vancaeyezeeele feels an immense amount of pride.
“It means a lot. I represent my family and my friends. That’s a lot for me. I’m really close to them. That’s why I try to give all I have because I know they are watching me and supporting me. I am trying to give them back a little bit of joy,” concluded Vancaeyezeele.