Cayman to host US, Cuban and Canadian football teams

United States midfielder Christian Pulisic, right, controls the ball during the CONCACAF Gold Cup final on 7 July, against Mexico. The US team will be in Cayman in November to take on Cuba in a Nations League match at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex. - Photo: AP

Cayman will soon play host to one of the biggest draws in CONCACAF.

Team USA will come to Truman Bodden Sports Complex on 19 Nov. for a Nations League game against Cuba, an event that may necessitate the addition of temporary seating.

Cuba will also play Canada at Truman Bodden Sports Complex on 8 Sept.

The USA/Cuba game possibility was first reported by the Associated Press, and Alfredo Whittaker, the president of the Cayman Islands Football Association, made it official on Tuesday morning.

“Cuba is having some issues with the electricity and the organisation of the Nations League games,” said Whittaker by phone from Cuba on Tuesday. “Originally, this game was being taken to Panama, but we have a really good working relationship with the Cuban government and the football association. We sat down and we had conversations in the CONCACAF office, and the possibility of these games being played in Cayman came on the table.

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“We discussed it and we agreed to terms. I travelled here Sunday to finalise the logistics and the different aspects of the game. Officially, Cuba will be playing in the Cayman Islands.”

Whittaker said that the movement of the USA/Cuba game had nothing to do with politics. The stadium Cuba had planned to play in is undergoing upgrades and will not be ready in time.

Cayman will play Barbados on 6 Sept., and the Cuba/Canada game will be played two days later. Cuba and Canada played in the recent CONCACAF Gold Cup, with Canada winning 7‑0 on 23 June.

Whittaker said that there will be discussions for how and where to add additional seating to Truman Bodden Sports Complex, which has a regular attendance of 3,000 people.

“This is awesome for us. For the Cayman Islands football family, it’s great,” he said. “Even from the tourism point of view, it’s great. The US is well known for a large group of supporters that travel with them. I think Truman Bodden will be small to accommodate all of those fans, so we have to plan accordingly. We have to sit down with the Minister of Sports and her team.”

Whittaker said he is not certain where additional seating would go for the Nations League games, and he said that The American Outlaws, the supporters’ group for Team USA, has a passionate reputation.

“I was part of the organisation when the Outlaws visited Cuba for the first time,” he said. “They accommodated a total of 6,000 at the time with two charter flights. It’s big. It’s huge.”

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