Guyana drawn in Group A of Concacaf U-20 Championship Qualifiers


Guyana has been drawn in Group A of the 2020 Concacaf Under-20 Championship Qualifiers. The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf) made the announcement of the host venues and schedule on Friday last.

Concacaf stated that the first round of the youth competition is set to take place February 15-23, 2020, in Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Curacao and Puerto Rico. The Guyana team, under the watchful eyes of Coach Wayne ‘Wiggy’ Dover, has re-commenced training after the Christmas holidays.

Dover informed that training commenced in earnest on January 15 ahead of next month’s matches in Nicaragua.

“Twenty-seven (27) players were called up to compete for the final twenty-man squad in our final breakdown. The Technical staff focus will be to organise the team in offense and defence and have them playing as a unit.”

The 2020 edition of the Men’s World Cup qualifying competition will be disputed in three stages, beginning with the qualifiers.

For the qualifiers, the 17 participating teams (ranked from 17-41, according to the Concacaf Under-20 Ranking as of June 2019) were divided into three groups of four teams and one group of five teams.

GFF President Wayne Forde commented on the Under-20 programme.

“I am confident that we will see an improved performance from the U-20 lads. The preparation for this tournament began with a scouting programme throughout the Regional Member Associations (RMAs) which was further complimented by the inauguration of the first National KFC U20 Tournament,” Forde said.

“The shortlisted players have been training since last year but unfortunately not at the frequency we would have preferred due to the financial challenges as a result of the Senior Men’s Nations League campaign. Notwithstanding, I am confident that Coach Dover and his staff understands the importance of making a commanding statement at the Concacaf championship this year and I have no doubt that they will deliver.”

The groups for the first-round qualifying stage are as follows (listed in the order drawn):

Group A: Nicaragua (ranked 20), Guyana (ranked 25), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (ranked 28), Montserrat (ranked 41) and US Virgin Islands, ranked 33rd.

Group B: Dominican Republic (17th), Grenada (24th), Dominica (26th) and Anguilla (36th).

Group C: Curacao (19th), Guadeloupe (22nd), Belize (30th) and Saint Martin (32nd).

Group D: Bermuda (18th), Puerto Rico (21st), Cayman Islands (27th) and Barbados (31st). After round-robin play, the top finisher in each of the groups will advance directly to the knockout stage of the competition (third round).

The second round of the competition will also be played in a groups format, between the top ranked 16 participating teams (according to the Concacaf Under-20 Rankingas of June 2019).

For this round, the teams have been divided into four groups of four. The groups for the second-round group stage are as follows (listed in the order drawn):

Group E: United States (1st), Costa Rica (5th), Jamaica (12th) and Saint Kitts and Nevis (15th).

Group F: Mexico (2nd), El Salvador (6th), Canada (9th) and Aruba (16th).

Group G: Panama (3rd), Haiti (8th), Trinidad and Tobago (10th) and Suriname (14th).

Group H: Honduras (4th), Cuba (7th), Guatemala (11th) and Antigua and Barbuda (13th).

After round-robin play, the top three finishers of each group will advance to the knockout stage of the competition. The knockout stage of the competition (round of 16, quarter-final, semi-final and final) will be played in June of 2020, at yet to be announced host country.

Meanwhile, at the same championship in November 2018 contesting the Group Stage, Guyana recorded an historical 2-0 win over El Salvador compliments of goals from Kelsey Benjamin and Captain Jeremy Garrett in their final match at the IMG Academy in Florida, USA.

In their matches before, the young Guyanese narrowly went down to Curacao 3-4 and Cayman Islands 2-3 after giving up their opening match to Guatemala, 0-4.

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