… Brazilian hints new policy to expose local players
NEW head coach of the country’s senior national men’s football team, Márcio Máximo, has made it clear that big names or playing in a big league wouldn’t impress him. He told Chronicle Sport that players have to prove their worth in order to break into the Golden Jaguars team.
Following Guyana’s 4-0 defeat to Reggae Boyz on Monday night at the National Track and Field Centre, in the team’s latest match in the CONCACAF Nations League, Máximo was responding to Chronicle Sport’s question as to why Terrel Ondaan, who plays with Grenoble Foot 38 France’s Ligue 2, didn’t find favour in his lineup against Jamaica, even as a substitute.
“It’s our new policy to give more chances to local players. I don’t talk about players, I talk about a team. Don’t ask me about a player because I never talk; I talk inside the changing room,” Máximo boldly expressed.
Many football fans, especially those knowing the ability of the 25-year-old forward who was born in the Netherlands and broke onto the scenes following his youth career at Ajax and Alkmaar Zaanstreek (AZ) football clubs, were left scratching their heads after Ondaan, who made 78 appearances for another top Dutch club, Willem II, was left off of the starting line-ups for both of the Golden Jaguars Nations League encounters.
In fact, Ondaan lost his spot to Kelsey Benjamin, a nifty 20-year-old who this season moved to Trinidad and Tobago to play in the Islands’ Professional league with Morvant Caledonia United – a team owned and managed by former Golden Jaguars coach Jamaal Shabazz.
Ondaan has found the net once this season in the French league, and has been a regular starter for his side.
“Players should prove themselves on the pitch, not with talk or their Curriculum Vitae,” Máximo expressed, while adding that CV doesn’t prove anything. You have to prove it on the pitch. Shelly (Sheldon Holder) was in better condition, that’s why he’s playing. But I don’t like talking about players, I talk about a team.”
Máximo’s comments might seem a bit farfetched, given the fact that he could not have seen the players in action, since he only took over after coach Michael Johnson departed in mid-August.
Máximo also had only three days in camp with the players in Curacao prior to their game against Aruba where they went on to win 1-0, thanks to a 22nd minute goal from Sheldon Holder.
Ondaan, the former Netherlands U-18 and U-21 player, moved from Telstar in the Dutch League to France just upon his return home from the Gold Cup where he made one start (against Panama), winning a penalty that was converted by Neil Danns.
Matthew Briggs, Neil Danns, Samuel Cox, Sheldon Holder, Kelsey Benjamin, Liam Gordon, Keanu Marsh-Brown, Akel Clarke and Stephen Duke-McKenna were the overseas-based players on the team for the first two Nations League games.
Meanwhile, specifically addressing Guyana’s loss to Jamaica, Máximo recounted, “I think we paid the price in the first half … in the second half we fixed our mistakes, because we went to the changing room and we did our tactical adjustments and we became better. It’s a good lesson for us because Jamaica are a good team.
“Of course we are as well, but in the meantime we have a long way to go. I’m not a magician, we’re going to take lessons from each game and for the next game we’re going to get better.”