CONCACAF Says Re New WC Qualifier Schedule

By Ben Hamill - September 11 2020
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CONCACAF Says Re New WC Qualifier Schedule

Theirs was never going to be a World Cup journey free of its fair share of challenges. And now that making it all the way through to the 2022 competition in Qatar requires of the team to also navigate those hindrances and delays cause by a global health crisis, even more grit and tenacity will be asked of the Canadian men’s soccer team than what would have been required under normal circumstances.

Even so, says Canada coach John Herdman, his team will do whatever it takes to push through the obstacles and make it successfully out the other side of qualifying to compete.

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The Latest Developments

CONCACAF earlier this week announced that first-round qualifying matches previously scheduled for October and November this year, will now only get underway in March 2021, naming a challenging public health dynamic to be behind the ongoing delays. Travel restrictions are proving especially challenging to sports bodies the world over, let alone a sports body trying to put together qualifying rounds leading up to a FIFA World Cup event.

And it’s exactly this reason Herdman says he fully empathizes with CONCACAF and the numerous challenges they’re now having to face as they try to pull a successful WC qualifier event from the hat – especially being smack bang in the middle of the biggest public health crisis modern man has had to face yet.

This is a challenge that requires of the organisation to successfully bring together 35 countries – each with its own set of restrictions, obstacles, and public health realities, said the Canada head coach of the precarious road that now lies ahead.

The Road Ahead – For Now

When qualifying play does commence, Canada will be the top seed in a first-round group made up of Bermuda, Suriname, Aruba and the Cayman Islands. Qualifying within the context of CONCACAF alone will involve 35 countries battling it out over a total of three rounds – all of which will ultimately lead to only 3 countries making it all the way through to the 2022 World Cup.

Also, since the 2022 Qatar World Cup tournament is now scheduled to get underway on November 21 and running through December 18, a whole new qualifying schedule will have to be finalised by FIFA. This will be what CONCACAF says it will henceforth be focused on helping the international football governing body achieve.

That all of the above will be the makings of an exceptionally busy 2021 isn’t lost either on him or on the 73rd-ranked men’s Canadian team, said Herdman of next year’s anticipated schedule. But even though the team will have to work through a great deal requiring adapting to, Herdman said team Canada is more than ready to do whatever necessary to qualify.

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