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CONCACAF draw set for August 19

The Bahamas will find out which teams its senior national men’s soccer team will have in group play when the CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) Qualifiers to the FIFA Word Cup Qatar 2022 draw takes place on Wednesday.

The draw can be viewed live on the FIFA.com website beginning at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. The details and procedure of the draw were released this past Wednesday, on the CONCACAF website.

On July 27, CONCACAF announced that The Bahamas was one of the 35 member associations that will be competing for the region’s 3.5 qualification spots. Team Bahamas will be one of the 30 lower-ranked teams to play in the first round of qualifiers set for October and November 2020 – two windows. The regional and world rankings are listed on FIFA’s website under the FIFA (International Football Federation) World Rankings label.

The Bahamas is currently ranked at number 30 in the region and at number 195 in the world based on the latest FIFA World Rankings.

The names of the first-round teams will be placed into five different pots with The Bahamas set to be in pot five. Along with The Bahamas in pot five are Aruba, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands and Anguilla. In pot one will be El Salvador, Canada, Curaçao, Panama, Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago. Antigua and Barbuda, Guatemala, St. Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic will be in pot two. Pot three consists of Grenada, Barbados, Guyana, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Bermuda and Belize. St. Lucia, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Montserrat, Dominica and the Cayman Islands are in pot four.

According to the FIFA International match calendar, the initial first-round matches, which were affected by the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic, are now set for October 5-13, and they will continue November 9-17.

The Bahamas’ participation depends heavily on the progress of the country’s fight against COVID-19 and the advice of healthcare professionals.

The six teams from pot one, including 2018 FIFA World Cup participant Panama, will be pre-seeded to positions A1, B1, C1, D1, E1 and F1. The highest ranked team in Pot 1 is El Salvador. They will occupy position A1, while the lowest ranked team in pot one, Trinidad and Tobago, will occupy position F1.

Teams in pot two will be placed in position two of each group and teams from pot three will be in position three and so on. This means that because The Bahamas is in pot five, they will be in position five in whichever group they are drawn into.

Teams drawn from pot two through five will be placed in groups A-F sequentially. This means that the first team drawn will be placed in Group A and the second team drawn will be placed in Group B and so on until Group F is filled.

Following the completion of each group’s single round-round matches, the winners of each of the six groups will advance to the second round of the CONCACAF Qualifiers.

Team Bahamas has never advanced past the second round of FIFA World Cup qualification. The second-round matches will take place March 22-30, 2021; and the final round of matches will be held from May 2021 to March 2022.

The second round will feature a two-legged series between the six group winners, with the winner of Group A scheduled to play against the winner of Group F; the winner of Group B against the winner of Group E; and the winner of Group C taking on the winner of Group D.

The winners of those three two-legged matches will then advance to the final round of CONCACAF Qualifiers, beginning in May 2021.

The other five final round teams are Mexico, the United States of America, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Honduras.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is set for November 21 to December 18, 2022, in Qatar.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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