THREE Trinidad & Tobago Premier Football League (TTPFL) clubs will contest Caribbean club football competitions in 2023.
This will make it the first time football clubs from T&T will compete at Caribbean level in five years. Central FC was the last T&T club to compete at Caribbean level, having finished fourth in the 2018 Caribbean Club Championships, then held in T&T. T&T clubs had been banned from Caribbean club competitions for failure to meet club licensing rules.
Yesterday, Concacaf announced details of two Caribbean club football competitions which will take place in 2023, the new Concacaf Caribbean Cup for professional clubs and the second-tier Concacaf Caribbean Club Shield, open to amateur and semi-professionals clubs.
The champion and runner-up in the TTPFL top flight competition will contest the new 2023 Concacaf Caribbean Cup, a five-month long competition featuring 10 teams, with three teams qualifying for the new and expanded 2024 Concacaf Champions League. Meanwhile, winners of the yet-to-be-started TTPFL second-tier competition are eligible to compete in the Concacaf Caribbean Club Shield.
The new Concacaf Caribbean Cup is open to professional clubs from Caribbean countries with professional football leagues. Yesterday, Concacaf announced that six clubs have so far secured their participation in this competition. They are Cibao FC (Dominican Republic), Moca FC (Dominican Republic), Club Atletico Pantoja (Dominican Republic), Cavalier SC (Jamaica), Dunbeholden FC (Jamaica), and Harbour View FC (Jamaica).
The still to be confirmed remaining four participants will include the two TTPFL clubs and the champion and runner-up of the 2023 Concacaf Caribbean Shield. The first edition of the Concacaf Caribbean Cup will feature 10 Caribbean clubs divided into two groups of five. After round-robin play, where each club will play a total of four matches, two at home and two away, the two best clubs in each group will advance to the knockout stage, from which the top three will qualify for the 2024 Concacaf Champions League.
Meanwhile, the fifth edition of the second-tier Concacaf Caribbean Shield is set for August 3-13 in St Kitts and Nevis with 16 non-professional clubs participating. Fifteen of the participants have been confirmed with the last club, from T&T, being confirmed by May 28. Already in are SV Dakota (Aruba), Scholars International SC (Cayman Islands), CRKSV Jong Holland (Curacao), Sagicor South East FC (Dominica), OyM FC (Dominican Republic), Solidarité Scolaire (Guadeloupe), AS Etoile De Matoury (French Guiana), Waterhouse FC (Jamaica), B1 Football Club (St Lucia), Golden Lion (Martinique), Metropolitan FA (Puerto Rico), St. Pauls United FC (Saint Kitts and Nevis), Junior Stars (Saint Martin), SV Robinhood (Suriname), and SWA Sharks FC (Turks and Caicos Islands).
Both Caribbean competitions are part of Concacaf’s club restructuring exercise announced in September 2021 and serve as qualifiers for Concacaf competitions.
“The ongoing growth and development of Caribbean club football is a major priority for Concacaf, and we are extremely pleased to announce the structure and format of the Caribbean Shield and the Concacaf Caribbean Cup which will qualify three teams into the new expanded Concacaf Champions League. We believe these competitions will elevate leagues and clubs across the Caribbean and we look forward with great anticipation to them commencing in August this year,” said Concacaf General Secretary Philippe Moggio.