Eight-time champion T&T’s “Soca Warriors” will begin its attempt to qualify for the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Caribbean Cup finals against French Guyana on October 10, the opening match of a first-round Group Five double header in Basseterre, St Kitts, from 5 pm. T&T, which last won the title in 2001 and was eliminated in the group stage of the 2008 and 2010 finals, will also face Anguilla on October 12 followed by host St Kitts/Nevis two days later in the four-team group. The Soca Warriors enjoy an impressive finals record at home, having won five finals played in T&T in 1992, 1994, 1996, 1999 and 2001 before losing in 2007 against Haiti. T&T has also won in 1989, 1995 and 1997.
Jamaica has won the title six times (1991, 1998, 2005, 2008 and 2010) and Martinique, the only other country to lift the CFU crown, in 1993. Group Two will open on October 21 with Guyana against St Vincent & the Grenadines, and host St Lucia against Curacao in Gros Islet, St Lucia while Group Four, in Bridgetown, Barbados, kicks off on Sunday involving the host country, Aruba, Dominica and Dominican Republic. The winners from each of the five groups along with the runners-up from Groups One to Three will advance to the second round while the best runner-up from either Group Four or Group Five also will advance.
The second round will comprise three groups of four teams with Grenada, Guadeloupe and Cuba seeded in one of the groups.
The top two teams from each second-round group will advance to the finals December 3-16 in Antigua & Barbuda with the host nation and two-time defending champion Jamaica. Four teams will qualify for next year’s Concacaf Gold Cup. Already through to the next round are Group One winner Haiti and runner-up Puerto Rico as well as Martinique and Suriname, the first and second placed teams from Group Three.