National men’s senior football coach Terry Fenwick can feel a bit of relief finally knowing the dates of his team’s first phase on the road to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
On Friday, Concacaf confirmed the schedule for the eagerly anticipated regional qualifiers for the World Cup. This after FIFA, the sport’s governing body, announced that certain international match windows will be extended to enable Confederations to schedule triple-match dates. This is due to the challenges faced by global football due to COVID-19, in particular for those regions where several 2020 FIFA international match windows were suspended.
In Concacaf’s case, FIFA’s decision means the Confederation can schedule three matches in each of the September and October 2021 and January and March 2022 FIFA international match windows.
This will enable Concacaf to begin its eight-team Final Round of the Concacaf Qualifiers in September 2021, following a First Round played in March and June 2021 and a Second Round in June 2021 (June 2021 includes two FIFA international match windows).
On learning, the Warriors’ opening match is at home to Guyana on March 25, Fenwick said: “It’s a bit of important information for us at this stage as it relates to the schedule of the World Cup qualifiers. We knew the teams before but now we know exactly what we’re going to face.
“Being at home in the opening game is good and we will prepare as best as possible for this first game against Guyana which we know has a bit of history with T&T and will certainly be no pushovers. Matter of fact, no team will be a walkover in these qualifiers.”
The draw for the Concacaf Qualifiers for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 took place in August 2020 and with the certainty provided by FIFA’s decision regarding the triple-windows, Concacaf can now confirm the schedule.
The First Round will be played between the Concacaf Member Associations ranked 6-35 based on the FIFA Men’s Ranking as of July 16, 2020.
Fenwick continued: “With this schedule before us now it tells you how important it was for us to have gotten the suspension lifted and having the Normalisation Committee in charge of our football.
“I know for a fact that chairman Robert Hadad and the rest of the Normalisation Committee are at work and are putting things together for us to be able to breathe a bit easier and for all the right conditions to be in place for our teams. I’m grateful that we’d been able to restart training last month and now we can look forward to executing our plans ahead of March.”
The FIFA Council also voted that the 2021 Club World Cup will be hosted by Japan in late 2021 with seven teams. A Major League Soccer (MLS) team has never advanced to that tournament, though four remain in contention when the Concacaf Champions League returns to action December 15 with Atlanta United, LAFC, New York City FC and the Montreal Impact all competing.
The 2021 Club World Cup ensures there will be two editions held within the same calendar year, since this year’s tournament is being held February 1-11, 2021 in Qatar. The reigning Club World Cup champion is Liverpool, snapping a streak of three straight titles by Real Madrid.
SOURCE: T&T Guardian