Friday, September 10, 2010

Caribbean Cup prediction

The 2010 Caribbean Championship an international soccer tournament for the Caribbean. This years edition will have 23 nations participating. The final stage will be hosted by Martinique. Martinique won the right to host over Guadeloupe and Barbados, who had also put in bids. All groups have changed from the original draw. Cuba and Antigua and Barbuda will get a bye to the second round at the expense of Guyana and the Netherlands Antilles who now have to qualify for Stage 2. The hosts in Stage 1 are Puerto Rico (Group A), St Vincent and the Grenadines (Group B), Suriname (Group C) and Dominican Republic (Group D). The final round of 8 has the host Martinique along with current Champion Jamaica. The top 4 teams automatically qualify for Gold Cup 2011. The winner of the Gold Cup 2011 will represent CONCACAF in FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 Brazil. This Caribbean Cup is interesting to me for a few reasons. I have been waiting for the “big” populous nations of Puerto Rico (3.9 Million) and the Dominican Republic (10 Million) to propel them selves into the thick of CONCACAF. If there is a chance that the Gold Cup will expand to 16 nations soon it will be up to these nations. These nations have a huge immigrant population throughout the states. They could support their nation like Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. The Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico did not participate in the last Cup. (PR missed the last 2 Caribbean Cups.) These countries are also hosting stage one games. In my eyes both will be favorites to advance to Stage 2. We will see how far each of these nations has progressed in 4 years. I am hoping a lot. The championship game is again moved to a new host country. Unlike the Gold Cup this makes for an exciting tournament where any number of teams can knock the host out. This will be the 4th different host in a row which makes every tournament exciting.
Stage 1 will have 15 teams fighting for 6 spots. All the group winners will advance along with the 1st and 2nd runner ups. The host nation always seems to have the advantage and this tournament is not different. I see Puerto Rico, Barbados and Suriname all advancing. The Dominican Republic Group D only has 3 teams so the winner of the Dominican Republic- Dominica game will advance. Stage Two also has the advantage go to the host nations however this is where I have my upsets changing the perspective of power in the Caribbean. The Favorites right now are the 2 teams that have already qualified for the final 8 (Jamaica and the host Martinique along with perennial power Trinidad &Tobago who are hosting a Stage 2 group). Cuba qualified for the Gold Cup the last 5 times so they have a legitimate shot, Haiti and Guadeloupe also field strong teams. Could we finally see a South American team in the Gold Cup (Surname- Guyana). Both have very competitive teams.

Group Stage One
Group A
Cayman Islands
Puerto Rico

Group A will be played in Juan Ramon Stadium, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico has not has much international success however the sport has grown on this Caribbean Island. Colin Clarke (No. Ireland) coaches both the Islanders and the PR national team. I think they will have the most fans of any group in the entire tournament. The have fans have supported the Islanders and hopefully will they support their national team. There were over 12,000 Puerto Ricans who turned out to support the Islanders game Aug 4th, 2001 against the LA Galaxy. Puerto Rico recently started a soccer league in 2008 and currently has 10 teams for the 2010 seasons. I think Puerto Rico will win this group and advance to Stage 2. The play Oct 2nd, 4th and 6th.
Group B
Saint Vincent
Saint Kitts & Nevis

Group B will now be played in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Barbados was one of the last 8 teams standing last Caribbean Cup because they have a good team. Barbados best result was 2005 when they placed 4th. They also advanced to the final 8 in both the 2007 and 2008 Caribbean Cups. They (Barbados) have the best team in the group which should be enough for the Bajan Pride to advance to Stage 2. St Vincent, playing at home will have the advantage, of advancing as one of the 6 nations. They should get enough points here. Saint Kitts will provide the test. Montserrat will provide cannon fodder. (
Group C
Saint Lucia
Netherlands Antilles

Suriname will be the favorite at home. They were one of the last 12 standing in World Cup Qualifying which the true test of any national team. Suriname has over 150 Surinese playing in the various Dutch leagues. Guyana is the arch rival of Suriname and a fellow South American nation. Surname knocked Guyana out of WCQ. This game will be a great battle. The Netherland Antilles are ranked higher that every team in Group A and group D. The Netherland Antilles only lost to Haiti 1-0 in World Cup Qualifying. This makes Group C the most talented group to advance. St Lucia does not have a chance. Played in Suriname from October 13–17. (Prediction Suriname 1st w/Guyana getting 2nd runner up spot.)
Group D
Dominican Republic
British Virgin Islands

The Dominican Republic is the 2nd most populous nation in the Caribbean at about 9.8 Million. CONCACAF wants to ignite the passion for soccer here so the Dominican will host and has the easiest group to advance. Games will be played in Estadio Panamericano (2800) San Cristobal. The DR from October 13th , 17th 10. Prediction Dominican Republic wins their first ever significant game and finally advance to Stage 2.

Group Stage Two
Stage 2 has 6 seeded teams in Grenada (host) with Guadeloupe, T&T (host of course) with Haiti, Cuba and Antigua and Barbuda (host). 6 teams from Stage 2 will advance to the Final round. All the host nations have a great advantage. The most difficult will be Group E in Grenada while the easiest Group will be G in Antigua and Barbuda
Group E
Winner Group A Puerto Rico
Winner Group B Barbados

Grenada advanced in the 2008 Cup by playing stingy defense and scoring when they had to. They will again have to play well defensively to advance out of this formidable group. The Gwada Boys of Guadeloupe made the finals in both the 2007 and 2008 tournament. They also qualified for Gold Cup 2007 and 2009. The Gwada Boys will be determined to make the Final 8 against the arch-rival Martinique. We will all see just how far Colin Clarke boys (Puerto Rico) have come in this group. They have not played since 2008. Barbados has advanced to the Final 8 the last 2 Cups. I see upsets here. Prediction Puerto Rico and Guadeloupe advance. Played in Grenada from October 22–26.

Group F
Trinidad and Tobago
Winner Group C Suriname
1st Place Runner-up St Vincent

Group F after rescheduling surprise, surprise….Trinidad & Tobago is hosting yet another group. T&T has won 8 out of 14 Caribbean Cups. They have been kings in the Caribbean over the last decade. Haiti beat T&T in the 2007 Caribbean Cup Final in Trinidad. Haiti also tied the USA in the states in the last Gold Cup 2009. Haiti will not back down. These 2 teams will be challenged by my Group C winner Suriname. The first runner I think will be St Vincent which will fill out this group. This group will played in Trinidad and Tobago from November 2–6. Prediction T&T and Haiti again.
Group G
Antigua and Barbuda
Winner Group D Dominican Republic
2nd Place Runner-up Guyana

Group C will be played in Antigua recreational Grounds (Cricket Stadium) that hold 12,000. Antigua made the Final 8 in 2008 and tied both Haiti and Guadeloupe but lost to Cuba in the final group. A&B relied on the scoring punch from Peter Byers and Jamie Thomas (6 goals each) who led the goals scoring in the last Cup. They will have to be in form again to make the Final. Cuba is rejoicing in the new scheduled group. Cuba should beat everyone here and advance. The Dominican Republic should finally make stage 2 and this is the easiest group in this stage. If the Dominican Republic wants to have some soccer success their chance is now. Could they pull an upset? I am hoping they do. If the Final runner up is Guyana) I think they go through as winners of 2nd place runner up. Games will be from November 10–14. I see Cuba & Guyana advancing.

Final round
Played in Martinique from November 26 - December 5.
Jamaica has won 2 of the last 3 Caribbean Cups and want to remain as the top team in the Caribbean. I thought they would advance last Gold Cup however they had coaching changes to close to tournament. They won the last Cup playing at home against Grenada. The Jamaicans are talented and tactically sound. They have settled their coaching issues and have settled on Theodore Whitemore (Jamaican). Martinique also won the Caribbean Cup in 1993 against the Raggie Boyz in Jamaica. Martinique has also qualified for the Gold Cup 3 times advancing to the quarterfinals in 2002. Martinique has watched their arch rival Guadeloupe accent to prominence and they want to share in the lime light.
Group 1

Winner E (Guadeloupe)
Winner G (Cuba)
Group F Runner-up(Haiti)
This is how I see the group shaping up. I wish the Gold Cup would expand to 16 team so all these teams could be make the big tournament. Jamaica will be in a dog fight to make the final 4 here. They will be challenged. Jamaica will not had as many warm up games as the others. Haiti has very talented players who just need a coach and their federation to back them. Cuba will be eager to make the Gold Cup to challenge for the Confederations cup. Guadeloupe looks to make it 3 Gold Cups in a row. I think it will be Jamaica and Cuba advancing.
Group 2

Winner F (T&T)
Group E R-up (Puerto Rico)
Group G R-up (Guyana)
Group 2 will be just as formidable to advance. I have to give the edge to Trinidad and Tobago. They have the best Caribbean Club teams and have a wealth of experience of playing in big Tournaments. Every nation enjoys a huge advantage playing on their home pitch so I will have the second runner up going to Martinique. Puerto Rico would have done well to make the final 8 and play competitive games here. They are gaining experience and could upset the Caribbean. Guyana is still emerging. They were on a 14 game unbeaten streak in 06 but have come down to earth.
I believe it will be Jamaica again emerging the winner. The big prize is having Jamaica, Cuba, Trinidad & Tobago and Martinique taking the 4 Caribbean spots in the Gold Cup. If this happens then it will be 3 new Caribbean participants. (Since I do not think Nicaragua will upset Guatemala or El Salvador) There will be a total of 4 new teams in Gold Cup 2011.


Raj-G said...

"Suriname has over 150 Surinese playing in the various Dutch leagues."

These players can't play for Suriname because they only have a Dutch passport. Surinamese government does not allow dual nationality.

Anonymous said...

Jamaica have never won the Tournament Back to Back .
Am not saying it cant happen .

Anonymous said...

Let's go Puerto Rico!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for you BOLD predictions.
So the 4 New teams in the Gold Cup would be Guatemala from Central America.
Martinique, Trinidad and Tobago and Cuba.

not a bad field at all