Cayman to begin World Cup quest in November

The Cayman Islands senior men’s national football team will join others from North America, Central America and the Caribbean in a new-look qualification tournament for the FIFA World Cup to be played in 2022.

Concacaf, the confederation that runs the sport in this region, announced an updated men’s international calendar which includes a new format for the Concacaf Qualifiers to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and updates on the Concacaf Nations League and 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup.

The new Concacaf Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 comprise of three rounds and provide all participating Member Associations with the chance to compete for the Confederation’s three and a half World Cup spots.

The First Round (30 teams) will be played between the Concacaf Member Associations ranked 6-35 based on the FIFA rankings as of July 16, 2020. The Cayman Islands is ranked 29th in Concacaf, 193rd in the world in the overall FIFA rankings.

Cayman and the other 29 teams will be drawn into six groups of five in a seeded draw. The six highest ranked teams, El Salvador, Canada, Curacao, Panama, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago will be pre-seeded into groups A to F respectively.

Each team will play every other team in their group once, playing a total of four matches; two home and two away. These games will be played in the FIFA match windows of October 2020 and November 2020. The draw will take place in mid-August.

Meantime, Concacaf has announced that the 2022/23 Concacaf Nations League, will begin in June 2022 and conclude with the 2022/23 Concacaf Nations League Finals in March 2023.

Cayman had four wins in six games during the 2019/20 Concacaf Nations League and just missed out (by goal difference to Barbados) on a shot for promotion from the third tier.

It was also announced that the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup will be played next summer.

Concacaf President Victor Montagliani said given the suspension of play in since March, and with so many Member Associations unable to complete a full FIFA rankings cycle, the previous Concacaf Qualifiers were compromised, and a new approach was required.

 “With the launch of the Concacaf Nations League in 2018, and the expansion of the Gold Cup in 2019, we have consistently provided more opportunities for all our Member Associations to play and compete on the international stage. That was our starting point for developing this new format and we believe we have struck the right balance,” he said.

Midfielder Theron Wood in action vs Barbados

“All teams now have the chance to compete for direct access to Qatar 2022 and dream of playing at a World Cup, while we have also respected the positions of those nations which had already mathematically qualified for the Final Round under the previous system.

“The love for our game continues to grow across the region and with Concacaf Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup 2022, Concacaf Nations League Finals and the 2021 Gold Cup now scheduled in this updated men’s international calendar, we have some great football to look forward to later this year and in 2021.

“Our next priorities are to continue progressing plans for the resumption of our club competitions and to ensure we finalize a women’s international calendar for the coming years which supports the continued development of women’s football in our region,” added Montagliani.

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