This week saw the announcement of the qualifying draw for the 2017 Caribbean Cup; a tournament that we have long had an interest in here at Worst in the World. The qualifying groups will be played in March 2016 ahead of the Finals tournament the following year.
Our interest this year focuses on Anguilla – one of world football’s smallest nations and current resident of the Worst in the World position in the world rankings. We should have had interest in two nations in this qualifying process as the Bahamas are also a current member of our club but they have declined entry to the Caribbean Cup on this occasion for reasons as yet unknown.
Anguilla have put themselves in the firing line, however, and have been drawn into a tough looking group alongside Guyana and Puerto Rico. If they can pull off a shock result, Anguilla would be in with a shout of qualifying for the next round as the top two teams from this group of three will progress.
Guyana are currently ranked 161st by FIFA, while Puerto Rico sit 172nd in the rankings. While neither of those two are any particular great shakes, they sit comfortably clear of Anguilla and will present a very difficult challenge.
Both Guyana and Puerto Rico began last year’s CONCACAF zone World Cup qualifiers at the Second Round stage (Anguilla having exited swiftly in the First Round 8-0 on aggregate to Nicaragua). Puerto Rico won their home leg 1-0 against Grenada, but went down 2-0 in the return match and were eliminated. Guyana, on the other hand, drew home and away against St Vincent and the Grenadines: 2-2 at home and 4-4 away. That meant elimination on the away goals rule but it is clear that both sides were at least competitive.
That dismal outlook can be countered a little by the fact that Anguilla’s World Cup conquerors, Nicaragua, also qualified through the Second Round before only narrowly losing to CONCACAF Champions Jamaica 4-3 in the Third Round. If we are to cling to anything, that would at least indicate that Anguilla were roundly beaten by what was a decent team, and certainly one significantly stronger than they will face in this Caribbean Cup group.
Grenada, as the top seeds, will host the triangular group, with each team facing each other just the once. The group will take place in March this year, although the actual match schedule is yet to be confirmed.