- Dominican Republic are in Group D in the Concacaf qualifiers for Qatar 2022
- Jacques Passy is the man tasked with helping them make history
- “Every qualifying competition is an opportunity”
He is Mexican but his name is French. He had ties with Dutch football for more than ten years as the head of the Johan Cruyff Institute in Mexico and Latin America. And he also spent four years as the coach of St. Kitts and Nevis, bringing an identity and success to the national team of an island that is home to just over 50,000 people.
Jacques Passy has been exposed to many different footballing philosophies over the years, and the experience he has acquired along the way is one of the reasons why Dominican Republic turned to him to help guide them to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.
The island nation know the route they have to take to achieve their dream, though the start of their journey has now been put back. The first hurdle comes in a group in which they will battle it out with Panama, Barbados, Dominica and Anguilla for the one available place in the next round.
“Panama are a big team who’ve achieved consistent results in the last few years,” said Passy, speaking at a Concacaf event after the draw was made. “They’ve got a new European coach whose going to work in a different way, combining their power and ability to express themselves with tactical organisation. They’re an interesting side that’s going through a transition from one generation to the next.”
Yet there is more to the group than just Los Canaleros,, as he went on to explain: “Barbados are very well coached. They won their Nations League group. Dominica are very strong too and have a great physical presence on the pitch. My view is that you can never underestimate your opponents.”
The Passy masterplan
Passy has plans for the Dominican Republic, who have never reached the final phase of the Concacaf qualifiers before: “The players need to have a determined mindset so they can be at their best right the way through every game. We’re looking to follow an intelligent game plan every time we play and map out how we can win matches. It’s not just about the mentality and tactics, though; the players need to be a band of brothers too.”
The Mexican coach learned a lot from his time with St. Kitts and Nevis and is intent on making the most of that knowledge.
“Sometimes you come in just the day before the game and other times you’ve got more time to work,” he said, explaining the constraints of coaching a national team. “There are some clubs who don’t release players, and there are teams you watch on video that then go and change their set-up three months later. Those are the kind of situations that can catch you off guard the first time around but which you then come to expect.”
Passy is well aware of the significance of the matches that lie ahead and the opportunity he has to change the course of the Dominican Republic’s football history. Can his unique career path, with all the different approaches to the game that he has experienced, help him achieve that goal?
“There comes a time when you need a great result to get some momentum going,” he replied. “Every qualifying competition is an opportunity. I hope things all fall into place and that we get that result. It’s what Dominican Republic needs.”