Jamaica first up for Cayman in CNL qualifying

The Cayman Islands men’s national football team will open its qualifying for the newly-inaugurated CONCACAF Nations League with an away game to Jamaica in September.

CONCACAF (the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football) on Wednesday, 7 March, announced the details and structure of the new centralized men’s national team competition. The draw for the qualification was done at the same time in Miami.

Wednesday’s draw event, which sorted the thirty-four teams participating for the qualifying phase, was opened with remarks from FIFA Vice President and CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani. CONCACAF Chief of Football Manolo Zubiria and Univision’s Adriana Monsalve conducted the draw, with the assistance of Head of Women’s Football Karina LeBlanc and Director of Development Jason Roberts.

The CONCACAF Nations League begins in September with a one-off qualifying phase, while the group phase, consisting of three tiered leagues will kick off in 2019. The top league will end with a Final to crown the Nations League champion, and the competition will also serve to unify the qualifying path for the region’s national teams to the newly expanded Gold Cup.

Cayman Islands will play four qualifying games on FIFA match dates from September 2018 through March 2019. After the opener against Jamaica, there is another away game to the Dominican Republic (October), then home games against St Lucia (November) and Montserrat (March).

The national team last played in 2015 during the early stages of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, when they drew two matches against Belize.

“The launch of the CONCACAF Nations League, conceived over the last two years and guided by the ONE CONCACAF principles of unity and access for our region’s football, is the defining moment marking the completion of our transition into a new era for our 41-member CONCACAF family,” said the confederation’s president Victor Montagliani.

“The Nations League assures that all our members will have the opportunity to play more and compete more, which in turn will propel greater development of the sport at every level.”

By virtue of having qualified for the Hexagonal Round of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Russia 2018, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, the United States and Trinidad & Tobago have earned the right to be seeded directly into League A, and therefore will not participate in Nations League Qualifying.  In view of the on-going suspension imposed by FIFA, Guatemala will not be able to participate in CONCACAF Nations League Qualifying.

The inaugural Nations League competition will be played in the official FIFA match windows in September, October and November, 2019 with a Final Championship to be played in March 2020. All eligible CONCACAF Member Associations will be assigned by three leagues – A, B and C – based on their performance in the qualifiers. Each league will be sub-divided into groups, in which the participating Member Associations will compete in a home-and-away, round-robin format over the course of the group phase.


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