Guyana drawn with T&T, St. Kitts, Puerto Rico and Bahamas in World Cup Qualifiers
Guyana’s National Men’s football team has been drawn in Group F for the Concacaf qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup, slated for Qatar from November 21 to December 18, 2022.
The senior men’s team, commonly called the Golden Jaguars, will face Caribbean rivals Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas in their first step to possible World Cup qualification.
These games will be played in the FIFA match windows of October 2020 and November 2020.
Based on rankings in their group, only Trinidad (105) and St. Kitts (139) are ahead of Guyana (166), and Guyana’s last encounter with their twin-island rivals was a 1-1 draw at 2019 Gold Cup, while they played St. Kitts at the 2014 Caribbean Cup and lost 0-2. Puerto Rico and Bahamas are ranked 178 and 195 respectively.
However, to progress to the second round of the qualifiers, Guyana would have to top their group, where they would then play the winner of Group A.
Group A consists of El Salvador, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Montserrat and US Virgin Islands.
Some pundits in the local fraternity have expressed delight at the group, noting that it is very much possible for Guyana to top the group and move on to the next stage.
Captain Samuel Cox posted on his social media page: “Happy with our FIFA World Cup road to Qatar 2022 draw! Looking forward to linking up with the boys and getting back to action!”
The first round of qualifiers will be played in a group stage involving the 30 lowest-ranked Concacaf member associations (6th to 35th), according to the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking of 16 July 2020.
Each team will play every other team in their group once, playing a total of four matches (two at home and two away). The first-place finishers in each of the six groups will qualify for the second round.
The six group winners from Round One will play in a home-and-away, direct-elimination format.
The three winners above will then join the five highest-ranked nations in Concacaf, according to the FIFA Ranking on 16 July 2020, in the final round of qualifying: Mexico, USA, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Honduras.
After home-and-away, round-robin play, the top three teams will qualify directly for the FIFA World Cup, while the fourth-placed team will represent Concacaf in the FIFA intercontinental play-off in June 2022.
The furthest Guyana has progressed in World Cup qualifiers was in 2014, where they topped their group which contained Trinidad, Bermuda and Barbados, but went winless in the third round in a group which contained Mexico, Costa Rico and El Salvador.