Cayman’s qualifying campaign for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 has been postponed due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) announced Tuesday the first round of qualifying will now be played in March of 2021.

“Many parts of the region continue to have very challenging public health situations, and that has been a key factor in this decision,” according to a press release from CONCACAF. “Additionally, several countries across the confederation have travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, which would make international football involving 30 national teams extremely difficult.”

Cayman’s national men’s team was slated to open qualifying in October, playing in Suriname before hosting group-favourite Canada later in the month. In November, Cayman was scheduled to play versus Aruba at home before wrapping up Group B qualifying in Bermuda.

The decision to postpone the matches came after CONCACAF held discussions with member associations, FIFA and other stakeholders, the region’s football governing body said.

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Cayman Islands Football Association President Alfredo Whittaker recently told the Compass he expected the postponement.

Cayman is ranked No. 193 in the most recent FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. Canada ranks 73rd, Suriname 141st, Barbados 162nd and Aruba 200th.

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.

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