MIAMI.- In Group C of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup, it is clear there will be no favorites.
While Costa Rica is the group’s seeded team, Jamaica, a finalist in two of the last three editions of the tournament, and Concacaf Nations League B Group D champions Suriname, each will have ambitions of advancing. The group will be rounded out by one of Guatemala, Guyana, Guadeloupe or Bahamas.
Reggae Boyz manager Theodore Whitmore said despite the team’s past success in the Gold Cup, the group is shaping up to be one they can’t take lightly.
“We have to respect all the teams in the group, always respect our opponent,” Whitmore said. “The onus is on us. Every game is going to be important.”
With a busy summer coming in 2021, as Costa Rica looks to lift the inaugural Concacaf Nations League title in addition to winning the Gold Cup for the first time in its history, manager Ronald Gonzalez said his team will need to count on a deep pool of players.
“Without a doubt, we’re always going to take teams who can compete. We’ve got a group with players who have different characteristics: Jamaica, Suriname, we could face Bahamas, Bermuda, Guyana or Guatemala, who does have a similar style to us,” Gonzalez said. “That’s why we’ve got to be prepared for anything. That’s why this national team can’t be made up of 20 players, but needs to be made up of a group of players who are committed and ready to put on the shirt when we select them.”
Suriname as well will look to have a large player pool, with manager Dean Gorre able to lean on Nations League leading scorer Gleofilo Vlijter [10 goals] and other players based outside the country’s domestic league.
It all should lead to a hard-fought group, something Whitmore expects to become the norm as Concacaf continues to raise the level of football in the region.
“This is 2021. It’s a totally different ballgame. Everybody’s preparing. Everybody’s making a mark,” Whitmore said. “I think Concacaf have set the platform for teams to be playing games, so everybody’s preparing. We just have to go out there and take one step at a time.”