Michael Johnson and fellow BAME coaches make history with Guyana
By Dev Trehan
Last Updated: 26/03/19 4:45pm
Former Derby full-back Michael Johnson and a group of BAME coaches have led Guyana to the CONCACAF Gold Cup for the first time in the nation's history.
Johnson become manager of Guyana last year and invited English-based BAME coaches Taff Rahman, Paul Williams and Ade Bankole to join his backroom team after taking the role.
Guyana has a population of less than 800,000 and the national team are 177th in the FIFA rankings, but they sealed their place at this summer's tournament with a hard-fought 2-1 victory away at well-fancied Belize.
Emery Welshman scored the winner after Bury midfielder Neil Danns' opener for Guyana.
Derby club ambassador Johnson, who has been vocal about the lack of opportunities afforded to aspiring BAME coaches, is thrilled to have made history with the Golden Jaguars in his first senior role as a fully-fledged manager in his own right.
"I feel absolutely ecstatic for the country itself. It means everything to this country," he told Derby's official website.
An incredible achievement. 🇬🇾— Derby County (@dcfcofficial) March 24, 2019
In his first managerial role, our Club Ambassador and former captain Michael Johnson has guided Guyana to the finals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup for the first time in their history. 🙌
Congratulations, @Jonsarno! 👏 pic.twitter.com/9ciou0XyNT
"To be able to deliver that and create inspirational stories for the children who can now look up to stars on one of the main platforms in world football, the Gold Cup, is something I'm delighted about."
Guyana is located in the north of South America, and borders Brazil, Venezuela and Suriname.
"Not many people know about Guyana as a country but for it to be talked about alongside the likes of Canada, America and Mexico is fantastic," added Johnson.
"To be able to deliver that is something I will never forget. I really believed this was destiny and that this is Guyana's time - and this is just the start."
Guyana are captained by Sam Cox who plays for National League South side Wealdstone FC. Cox is a former Spurs youngster who grew up playing alongside Harry Kane in Tottenham's junior sides.
Cox and former Arsenal youngster Rahman have both coached at Tottenham's academy.
Rahman is a UEFA A Licence coach who has worked as an FA tutor and also gained coaching experience with some of England's youth teams.
Former Coventry defender Williams stepped in as England U20 boss when Aidy Bothroyd became manager of the England U21 side.
Nigeria-born former goalkeeper Bankole played for 15 different clubs in England and is best remembered for two spells at Crewe Alexandra.