Sports — 23 August 2013

According to FIFA website fifa.com, “Qualifiers for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014 are already underway. Canada 2014 will see the participation of three teams from the AFC (Asia), two teams from CAF (Africa), three teams from CONCACAF (North and Central America and the Caribbean) in addition to the Canadian hosts, two teams from CONMEBOL (South America), four teams from UEFA (Europe) and one team from the OFC (Oceania).”

With only “three teams from CONCACAF” besides the hosts, Canada, qualifying to the U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014, there is not much chance of our Belize National U-20 Female Team becoming one of those lucky three. But there is no harm in trying; and we are preparing for the future.

The qualifying tournament for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014 will be held in Cayman Islands in January of 2014, where the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship will take place. According to concaf.com, “The host Cayman Islands will be joined by three-time Confederation champion the United States and 2010 runner-up Mexico, as well as teams from the Caribbean and Central America yet to be determined.”

What is presently taking place in Comayagua, Honduras, then, are the Group One (UNCAF) pre-qualifiers to determine which Central American teams will go on to the CONCACAF Championship in Cayman next January. The UNCAF (Central America) teams are divided into two groups in these pre-qualifiers – Group One consisting of Belize, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador; and Group Two including Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. The Group One pre-qualifiers are going on this week, while the Group Two pre-qualifiers take place in September. The two Group winners will qualify to the CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship in Cayman in January; while the two second place teams play off for the third spot. (See Group schedules below, with yesterday’s results.)

Group One schedule:
Wednesday, August 21 – Honduras 2:1 Belize; Guatemala 2:0 El Salvador
Friday, August 23 – Belize vs Guatemala; Honduras vs El Salvador
Sunday, August 25 – El Salvador vs Belize; Honduras vs Guatemala

Group Two schedule:
Saturday, September 7 – Panama vs Nicaragua
Monday, September 9 – Nicaragua vs Costa Rica
Wednesday, September 11 – Costa Rica vs Panama

In these UNCAF Women U-20 games in Comayagua, Honduras, the accepted powerhouses are Honduras, Panama, Costa Rica and El Salvador, with Guatemala not far behind. Belize and Nicaragua are not usually considered serious contenders. Our girls are making their first tentative steps onto the big stage, and we know they will give their very best effort. Holding Honduras to a 2-1 score is a major step forward. This first journey for our U-20 females is indeed for the “exposure,” and we will be thankful if our team can continue to be competitive.

Le’s go, Belize!

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