MANAGUA, Nicaragua – Nicaragua is keen to show how much it has improved since its previous and only CONCACAF Gold Cup appearance eight years ago.
“Step-by-step the national team continues improving and I hope that in the Gold Cup that improvement is seen even more,” said head coach Henry Duarte. “We hope that the national team is up for it. We are going to go to compete. We are not going to hide or sit back because we have nothing to lose.”
The Pinoleros qualified for the Gold Cup in dramatic fashion by overcoming Haiti (agg: 4-3) in a playoff earlier this year as Juan Barrera scored three goals in the last eight minutes of a 3-0 second-leg win.
A Gold Cup schedule that consists of matches against Martinique (July 8), Panama (July 12) and the host United States (July 15) has Duarte excited for the challenge.
“I’m happy that they have put us against the United States and I have told that to the boys,” the 58-year-old Costa Rican finished. “I love being in the group with them. I’m going to look to beat them. If we do something to them, imagine what it would be for everyone, and so we are going for it!
“Also against Panama. Martinique, the same. I have said it here and to the boys: we are going to face them looking to win.”
In its 2009 Gold Cup debut, Nicaragua lost its three games.