NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Carlos Chavarria doesn’t need to look online or in a record book to find out how long it’s been since Nicaragua has competed in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
It was the first words the Real Esteli forward uttered after the team trained Thursday evening.
“It’s been eight years,” Chavarria told CONCACAF.com. “It’s great to see our hard working is paying off. We all have a very positive mindset and we come here to perform well and leave a good impression on the other teams.”
The 2009 squad, coached by Ramon Otoniel Olivas, finished fourth in Group C, losing all three matches without scoring a goal. This year, under Henry Durate, expectations are raised and that begins with a critical opener against Martinique.
“It’s very important,” said Chavarria, who scored in Nicaragua’s 3-1 loss to Haiti in the first leg of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup playoff. “It should be great for the confidence of the team.”
According to Chavarria, who scored three goals for Nicaragua during CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, Duarte and his coaching staff have been instrumental in changing the culture for the Blue and White.
“Truly very much, the togetherness of the team and the tactical aspects,” he remarked. “The togetherness the coaches brought is something showing on the field and has led to the results.”
After such a long hiatus, Chavarria said there’s quite a buzz back in Nicaragua and he is hoping to make sure the excitement lasts.
“The country is very excited to have us here and we’re hoping we have a good tournament,” finished Chavarria. “For me to be here for the first time I want to make sure I leave an impression and the team performs well.”