The Bahamas to play French Guiana

The Bahamas’ Senior Men’s National Soccer Team will play French Guiana in the first round of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Gold Cup Qualifiers in a home-and-away series set for March 2020.

This is the first time in history that the two teams will play each other on the senior men’s level.

The match-up was revealed on Wednesday night at an official draw conducted by CONCACAF at a gala event held in Miami, Florida. The draw was conducted by CONCACAF Development Director Jason Roberts and CONCACAF Director of Competitions Carlos Fernandez.

The Gold Cup is set for 2021. This year’s winner was Mexico.

The Bahamas finished CONCACAF Nations League play this year at the top of League C Group B. They did so undefeated in a group that included Bonaire and the British Virgin Islands (BVI). The team won three games and drew once.

The Bahamas “Junkanoo Boys” opened Nations League play with three straight wins before drawing the final match 1-1 against Bonaire. The Bahamian squad finished with 10 points in the group. Bonaire and the British Virgin Islands finished with seven and zero points respectively.

French Guiana finished second in League B Group A with two wins, two draws and two losses.

As of November 28, The Bahamas is ranked at number 195 in the FIFA (International Federation of Association Football)/Coca-Cola World Rankings amongst men’s national teams – moving up six places. French Guiana is not a member of FIFA and is not eligible to enter the World Cup. However, they are a member of CONCACAF and the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) and can participate in competitions organized by either organization.

It will be an uphill battle for The Bahamas.

League B and League C encompassed the lower-ranked teams. They were drawn into the first round of the qualifiers against each other. The winners of the games will face the third-place finishers from League A.

Apart from The Bahamas and French Guiana, other match-ups in the first round of Gold Cup qualifiers are Guadeloupe against St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados against Guyana and Guatemala against Monserrat.

Waiting to play the winners of the four first-round match-ups are Bermuda, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti and Cuba. The round two match-ups will be played in June 2020.

If The Bahamas defeats French Guiana they will play Bermuda in round two. Haiti will play the winner between Guadeloupe and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Cuba will go up against the winner of Guatemala and Montserrat. Trinidad and Tobago will battle the winner of Barbados and Guyana.

There are only 16 teams that can play in the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup and 12 have already punched their tickets leaving four spots up for grabs. The four spots will be revealed after the first two rounds of the qualifiers.

The 12 teams that have already qualified are the defending champions Mexico, runner-up the United States of America (USA), Jamaica, El Salvador, Grenada, Canada, Suriname, Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, Curacao and Martinique.

The full schedule with dates, kickoff times and host venues for the qualifying matches will be announced at a later date.

The Bahamas has been promoted to League B in next year’s CONCACAF Nations League after winning Group B in League C.

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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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