Thursday, August 13, 2020
By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
THE preliminary draw has been set as CONCACAF continues to reveal its restructured qualification process for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
The first round draw, featuring 35 member federations, will be hosted August 19 in Zurich, Switzerland and streamed live on FIFA.com
The Bahamas will be placed in “Pot Five” along with Aruba, Turks and Caicos Islands, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands and Anguilla.
Pot One includes El Salvador, Canada, Curaçao, Panama, Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago. Pot Two will feature Antigua and Barbuda, Guatemala, St Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Nicaragua and The Dominican Republic. Pot Three features Grenada, Barbados, Guyana, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Bermuda and Belize. Finally, Pot Four includes St Lucia, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Montserrat, Dominica and The Cayman Islands.
The Qatar 2022 qualification will feature three rounds vying for three and-a-half World Cup spots.
The First Round (30 teams) will feature CONCACAF teams ranked 6-35 based on the FIFA/Coca-Cola rankings as of July 16, 2020.
The Bahamas is currently ranked No. 30 based on the aforementioned rankings. The draw will feature six groups of five teams in a single round robin format. Each team will play every other team in their group once, playing a total of four matches - two home and two away.
At the end of the first round the six group winners will progress to the Second Round. The second round (six teams) will be played between the group winners from the First Round in a home-and-away in a direct elimination format.
The three winners will progress to the Final Round. The final round (eight teams) of the qualifiers will feature the three winners from round two and teams based 1-5 on the FIFA rankings.
The top three teams will advance to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and the fourth placed team will qualify for the FIFA Intercontinental Playoff, scheduled to be played in June 2022.
The Bahamas returned to regional competition at the senior men’s national team level last year in the CONCACAF Nations League and emerged as the top group team in League C, Group B.
The Bahamas finished as group winners with 10 points, and earned a berth in both League B and the 2021 Gold Cup qualifiers.