BY SEAN A WILLIAMS Assistant Sport Editor Wednesday, July 29, 2015
FLORIDA, USA — Head Coach Winfried Schaefer did not have to say it, because it’s clear as day. If Jamaica should get by Central American minnows Nicaragua in a twoway World Cup qualifying tie starting in Kingston on September 4, they would find themselves in arguably the group of death.
|Head Coach Winfried Schaefer (right) discusses strategy |
with assistant Miguel Coley while video analyst Carlos
Garcia looks on during the Copa America tournament
in Chile. (PHOTO: GARFIELD ROBINSON)
The return leg will be played on September 8 in Managua, the Nicaraguan capital. Awaiting Jamaica in that group of the CONCACAF qualifiers are Costa Rica and Panama. But like Jamaica, Haiti will have an all- Caribbean tie to earn their spot in the group.
Assuming that Haiti and Jamaica are successful in their play-offs, then the stage is set for royal battles for places in the fourth round of the CONCACAF qualification tournament.
Group A consists of Mexico, Honduras and the winners of the Curacao vs El Salvador, and Canada vs Belize encounters. Group B has Costa Rica, Panama, and the winners of Jamaica vs Nicaragua, and Haiti vs Granada, while Group C comprises USA, Trinidad and Tobago and the winners of the St Vincent and the Grenadines vs Aruba, and Antigua and Barbuda vs Guatemala.
The top two teams from each of the three groups will advance to the fifth and final round, a six-team mini-league where the top three teams qualify for the Russia World Cup Finals, and the fourth team goes into an intercontinental play-off.
“It’s a very difficult group… Panama beat the USA too (in Gold Cup third-place match), and there is Costa Rica and Haiti, oh my God,” Schaefer said, weighing in on the prospects.
“We will need our best team and our best players for the qualification, and now we have made a very good step in our performance, we have to keep this (the momentum), we must not have stagnation, we can’t go back as we have to work more,” he added. more