Cayman’s national men’s football team is set to open its World Cup qualifying campaign against Suriname as the region’s football governing body on Wednesday held its preliminary draw for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, in Qatar.
Cayman joins Canada, Bermuda, Aruba and Suriname in Group B of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football’s qualifying tournament.
The national squad opens play 7 Oct. in Suriname before hosting group-favourite Canada on 11 Oct. and Aruba on 11 Nov. Cayman wraps up group play 17 Nov. at Bermuda.
“It’s a very exciting draw,” Cayman Islands Football Association President Alfredo Whittaker told the Cayman Compass. “It gives Cayman the opportunity to face off against top teams and against teams that we want to compete (against) so we can see exactly where we are.”
Cayman is ranked No. 193 in the most recent FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. Canada ranks 73rd, Suriname 141st, Barbados 162nd and Aruba 200th.
“We are preparing to compete. We will compete.”
Cayman has the distinction of having gone undefeated in its last three World Cup qualifying matches without recording a win. That includes a 1-1 draw against the Dominican Republic to close out group play in 2014 World Cup qualifying as well as a pair of draws against Belize in 2018 qualifying.
“We are preparing to compete. We will compete,” Whittaker said. “That will give us the line to know exactly where we are, where we need to improve, where we need to work harder.”
Cayman’s World Cup qualifying schedule
7 Oct. Cayman at Suriname
11 Oct. Cayman vs. Canada
11 Nov. Cayman vs. Aruba
17 Nov. Cayman at Bermuda