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Soca Warriors get Gold Cup spot
By virtue of having qualified for the Hexagonal Round of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Russia 2018, T&T along with Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, and the United States have earned the right to be seeded directly into League A, and therefore will not participate in Nations League Qualifying.
This was disclosed at CONCACAF yesterday and announced with the details and structure of the Concacaf Nations League, a new centralized men’s national team competition representing a new era of national team football for Concacaf Member Associations. The new format with T&T being seeded also means this country has gained automatic qualification to the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The Concacaf Nations League begins in September with a one-off qualifying phase, while the group phase, consisting of three tiered Leagues will kick off in 2019. The top League will end with a final to crown the Nations League champion, and the competition will also serve to unify the qualifying path for the region’s national teams to the newly expanded Gold Cup.
The inaugural Concacaf Nations League competition will be played in the official FIFA match windows in September, October and November, 2019 with a Final Championship to be played in March 2020.
All eligible Concacaf Member Associations will be assigned by sporting performance into three leagues: A, B and C.
League A of which T&T has been placed in, will contain four groups of three teams. The winners of each League A group will qualify to the Concacaf Nations League Final Championship, which will determine the champion of the new competition. The teams at the bottom of each League A group will be relegated to League B for the next edition of the tournament.
T&T coach Dennis Lawrence, in an immediate reaction, spoke about this development. “It’s a massive tournament and a very important one of that for the region and it is one I am sure everyone is very excited about. As for us a country, it’s good that we are into League A as one of the teams which made it to the Hex," Lawrence said.
"It puts us into a position where there’s a bit more time for planning and preparation to ensure we are adequately ready for our first point of action in the competition and one which I am sure we will be eagerly awaiting and prepared to enter,” Lawrence told TTFA Media. “It’s a great step for us and we’ll definitely be focusing on making it all the way through and participating in the next Gold Cup especially as we missed out on the last competition,” he added.
Concacaf President Victor Montagliani said the competition will create greater opportunities for member associations.
“The launch of the Concacaf Nations League, conceived over the last two years and guided by the ONE Concacaf principles of unity and access for our region’s football, is the defining moment marking the completion of our transition into a new era for our 41-member Concacaf family,” said Montagliani. “The Nations League assures that all our members will have the opportunity to play more and compete more, which in turn will propel greater development of the sport at every level.”
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