THE Golden Jaguars, Guyana’s senior men’s national football team, will know their 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup preliminary round opponents on September 28, after the Victor Montagliani-led Confederation announced on Wednesday, their attempt to deliver a football-first philosophy, and to add more anticipation for fans across the region.Golden Jaguars had finished second in Group C of League B of the CONCACAF Nations League and will be joined by The Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cuba, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Haiti, Montserrat, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago in the Gold Cup preliminary tournament.The tournament will be played as a direct elimination format from July 2 to 6 in 2021, in a centralised location in the United States.After a knockout format, the remaining three teams at the end of the Preliminary Round will qualify for the Gold Cup Group Stage.By virtue of winning the CONCACAF Nations League, League A and League B, Canada, Costa Rica, Curacao, El Salvador, Grenada, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Suriname and the USA gained automatic qualification to next year’s Gold Cup.Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup Champions, Qatar, will compete as a guest in next year’s Gold Cup as part of a major collaboration between CONCACAF and the host country of FIFA World Cup 2022.CONCACAF and the Asian Football Confederation’s longstanding relationship, which was formalised through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in May 2017, has resulted in various joint initiatives which have served to greatly develop football in both regions. The MOU established a framework for strong collaboration between both Confederations and paved the way for a strategic partnership between CONCACAF, Qatar Football Association (QFA) and the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), the organisation charged with delivering the infrastructure and operations for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.The partnership includes Qatar National Team competing as a guest in the 2021 and 2023 Gold Cups.The Qatar team are the current regional champions, having won the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. Additionally, the team participated in the 2019 Copa America in Brazil, providing strong opposition for South American national teams in the group stage.Qatar will be the second AFC national team to compete as guest in the Gold Cup, following South Korea who played in the 2000 and 2002 editions.Montagliani, who sits as FIFA’s vice-president, said “the CONCACAF Gold Cup continues to grow as a competition and we are hugely excited at the prospect of the 2021 edition, particularly as it falls in the Confederation’s 60th anniversary year.” Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, the Asian Football Confederation president and Senior FIFA vice-president, on behalf of the AFC and the entire Asian football family, thanked Montagliani and his members for the invitation that they have extended for the AFC Asian Champions, Qatar, to play in what he has called a “a prestigious tournament as the Gold Cup”.“When AFC and CONCACAF signed their Memorandum of Understanding in May 2017 we saw the obvious opportunities for both Confederations to help and improve each other both in terms of performances on the field – of teams, players and match officials as well as operations staff – and, just as importantly, the continued development of the game across our continents,” Al Khalifa said.
Aware that his recovery could not stop, He left Valdebebas that March 12 loaded with everything necessary to turn the living room and garden of his house into a makeshift gym. There, together with his brother Igor, he works in long daily sessions during quarantine. Her knee is strong, ready for the next step.SensationsIn the last month the recovery became more enjoyable because much of the work was done on the grass and with the ball in between. Gone were the long sessions of up to eight hours in which there was only physical therapy, gym and pool. Instead, small typical recovery problems also appeared. Beyond the knee, the rest of the muscles in the injured leg also start from scratch after such an operation. That caused minor annoyances and that is why Marco has been so cautious. It will also be now, when the sensations in his first training sessions will be key to set a date to return to a squad. One of his goals for the year, the European Championship, has been postponed to 2021 and now he only thinks of being useful for Zidane in the final stretch of the season.The other key section is the mental one. In that, those who know him well assure that he is a new person. He has learned to value everyday things much more and it has also helped him to see who was at his side. In these months, in addition, he has taken care of the diet in detail (he has even lost weight). He hopes to return even better physically and with a version strengthened psychologically. Asensio is back. 251 days ago, life put Marco Asensio to the test. More than 35 weeks. Eight long months of work in the shade, traveling through a tunnel where the light begins to appear. His left knee, the one where he suffered a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament and the external meniscus on July 23, 2019, now it is OK. There have been many hard moments in which two hopes always appeared: the moment to return with the rest of his teammates in the Valdebebas training sessions and the moment to set foot on the grass at the Santiago Bernabéu.Asensio, finally, is ready to face the first of them. The Balearic found the confidence necessary to return to the sessions with the rest of his companions when the confinement by the coronavirus ended.Since Manuel Leyes operated on him at the Cemtro Clinic in Madrid on August 7, doctor and patient agreed on a maxim: set weekly goals. Among them, the Balearic agenda was very close to the time to try the group when the team had to go home due to the positive for Thompkins coronavirus, Madrid basketball player. That happened last Thursday, March 12, just a few days after entering the week of March 16 to 22, which Marco saw as key to go one step further.