Golden opportunity! Taff goes to Guyana
An invitation to coach at international level came ‘out of the blue’ for former Arsenal youth player Taff Rahman
13 September, 2018 — By Steve Barnett
Former Arsenal and Spurs coach Taff Rahman speaking to the Guyana national team players
FORMER Arsenal youth player Taff Rahman is officially a Golden Jaguar after becoming assistant manager of the Guyana national football team.
The 34-year-old, who lives in Swiss Cottage, was one of the first signings made by new manager Michael Johnson.
Taff struck up a friendship with Johnson – a former Derby, Birmingham and Notts County defender – while he was studying with the League Managers Association (LMA). So when Johnson took over as Guyana boss in June, there was only one man he wanted by his side in South America.
“Michael gave me a call and his first question was, ‘what is your availability?’,” said Taff, who went on to coach at Arsenal, as well as with their north London rivals Tottenham, when injury cut short his playing career. “It came out of the blue. It was very much an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. I’m really looking forward to the challenge, it’s going to be very exciting. I know that I’ve already got the tools to coach at international level, so now it’s just a case of putting them tools into practice.”
Taff, who was born in Bangladesh, already boasts a CV that any Premier League manager would be proud of.
He is one of the few coaches in the country to earn his UEFA “A” licence, has achieved his diploma in football management from the LMA, and has even gained an “On Board” merit after completing a corporate governance course funded by the Professional Footballers’ Association aimed at making boardrooms more diverse.
Taff, who lives in Swiss Cottage, uses a board to make his point to the players during a coaching session
He has just flown back from Brazil following a two-week training camp with Guyana, nicknamed the Golden Jaguars, where he met the players for the very first time. It was a “productive” trip as the team set their sights on qualifying for the 2019 Gold Cup – along with an even bigger long-term goal that Taff says the new management team are already working towards.
“My first experience meeting all the players was a really positive one,” he said. “We drew our Nations League match against Barbados 2-2 on Friday, and the players responded really well to what was asked of them before kick-off.
“They are hungry, they want to learn, and they want to succeed – that’s every coach’s dream. There’s a lot of potential in and around the squad that I’m looking forward to working with.”
Looking ahead, Taff added: “Our main challenge is Project 100 – getting Guyana into the world rankings top 100. It’s a goal that I’m fully confident we will achieve.”