Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago are set to cross swords in the group stages of this year’s fourth edition of the Concacaf Nations League, as both were drawn in Group B of League A for the 2024/25 campaign which is scheduled to kick off in September.

This year’s Concacaf Nations League will again be contested in a three-league format –Leagues A, B and C –and will see the Confederation’s 41 senior men’s national teams doing battle during the FIFA match windows of September, October, and November 2024. The semi-finals and finals of the tournament, which serves as the qualifiers for next summer’s 2025 Concacaf Gold Cup, are scheduled for March 2025.

The teams have been grouped across the respective Leagues based on their results from the 2023/24 staging. The Reggae Boyz and their Soca Warriors counterparts, who contested the business end of the competition for the first time in that campaign, will be hoping to do so again on this occasion.

They are among 12 teams, split in two groups of six teams each to contest League A in a “Swiss style” league system, with each team playing a total of four games (two at home and two away).

Jamaica, last edition’s semi-finalist, and Trinidad and Tobago, who made the quarterfinals, are drawn alongside Honduras, Cuba, Nicaragua, and French Guiana, while Group A comprises, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Suriname, and Guyana.

After group stage play in September and October, the first and second-place finishers of each group, will advance to the quarterfinals, where they will join the four top-ranked League A teams, Mexico, United States, Panama, and Canada. The quarterfinals will be played in a home-and-away format, with the winner of each fixture, on aggregate, set to secure a berth in next year’s Finals.

Meanwhile, League B will feature 16 teams divided into four groups of four teams. Each team will play every team in its group twice. The groups were drawn as follows:
 
Group A -El Salvador, Montserrat, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Bonaire

Group B -Curacao, Saint Lucia, Grenada, and Saint Martin
Group C -Haiti, Puerto Rico, Aruba, and St Maarten
Group D -Dominican Republic, Bermuda, Antigua and Barbuda, and Dominic 
Matches in each group will be played at a centralized venue instead of the previous home-and-away format, to alleviate travel challenges that Member Associations face.

The third best-ranked teams in each group will host the September matches, the second best-ranked teams will host the October matches, and the best-ranked teams will host the decisive November matches.

Over in League C, which consists of nine teams, divided into three groups of three teams, the format takes a similar shape, where each team will play every team in its group twice.

Group A -Barbados, Bahamas, and US Virgin Islands
Group B -Belize, Turks and Caicos Islands, and Anguilla
Group C-Saint Kitts and Nevis, Cayman Islands, and British Virgin Islands

Where centralized venues are concerned, the second highest-ranked teams in each group will host the September matches, and the highest-ranked teams will host the October matches.

Schedule:

Group Stage: September 2-10, October 7-15, and November 11-19, 2024
Quarterfinals: November 11-19, 2024
Semifinals: March 20, 2025
Final and Third Place Match: March 23, 2025

As expected, Frazsiers Whip will be Jamaica’s representative in the inaugural Concacaf Women’s Champions Cup, a new annual tournament that includes the best clubs from North America, Central America, and the Caribbean and crowns the region’s women’s club champion.

The tournament is also the sole path through which clubs in Concacaf can qualify for the new FIFA Women’s Club World Cup, which FIFA has committed to launching in the near future.

By virtue of winning the 2022/23 Jamaica Women’s Premier League, Frazsiers Whip booked their spot for the first edition of the competition, which will feature 11 clubs from seven Member Associations.

The other confirmed participants are Canada’s 2023 League One Women’s Inter-Provincial Championship winners Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Costa Rica’s LD Alajuelense, Mexico’s Tigres UANL Femenil, as well as the United States trio of Gotham FC, San Diego Wave FC and Portland Thorns FC.

El Salvador and Panama are yet to confirm their representatives for their solitary spots, while Mexico’s two other representatives will be known at the conclusion of the Liga MX Clausura.

GILBERT...it is more football and more exposure for our local players.

Interim Reggae Girlz Head coach Xavier Gilbert, who guided Frazsiers Whip to league honours, welcomed the move by Concacaf, which he believes will offer some exposure for local players, despite the gulf in class between other leagues around the region and Jamaica's Women's League.

"It's important for local football, however, I don't think any of our local teams will be able to match up with the teams from Mexico or United States. Those clubs are professional clubs playing in a fully professional leagues, while ours is nowhere close to their standard," Gilbert told SportsMax.TV in a recent interview.

"But it is good, it is more football and more exposure for our local players. At the same time, I think it sends a signal of how important it is for us to look at what we are doing in terms of resources and surfaces for our local teams. So, it is good move by Concacaf, and I think it's for us now here in Jamaica to look at what we are doing and try to improve the quality of our league," he added.

The official draw for the tournament is scheduled for June 6.

Action in the Concacaf Women’s Champions Cup is expected to get underway in August, with a Preliminary Round, followed by Group and Knockout Stage play. The Preliminary Round Play-in will be a single-leg match between two clubs, with the winner advancing to the Group Stage. 

The Group Stage will feature 10 clubs divided into two groups of five clubs each. Each club will play every club in its group once, for a total of four matches per club (two at home and two away). At the conclusion of Group Stage play, the group winners and runners-up (four clubs) will progress to the competition’s final four. 

The semifinals, third-place encounter, and final, where the first-ever Concacaf Women’s Champions Cup winners will be crowned, will be centralized in a venue to be announced.

With an historic third-place finish at the Concacaf Nations League now out the way, Jamaica’s senior Reggae Boyz Head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson is hoping they can ride the momentum to an even bigger accomplishment, which is to qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Though Hallgrimsson would have preferred the 2023/24 CNL title, as opposed to the bronze they secured with a 1-0 win over Panama, he believes the achievement represents a step in the right direction on their quest to add to the country’s 1998 World Cup feat.

“This is just a part of our journey. We were trying to build something for this tournament as there is a saying that ‘success is not a destination, success is not a date, it’s a continuous journey to the right direction’. So, we’re just working on improving this team, as our biggest goal at the moment is to try to reach the World Cup finals,” Hallgrimsson declared. 

Jamaica’s third-place battle followed a heartbreaking 3-1 extra-time loss to United States in an entertaining semi-final contest that they led from the very first minute, but lost after Corey Burke’s last-gasped own-goal brought the opponents back into the game.

Still, Hallgrimsson took the positives from the tournament, as he pointed to the psychologically importance and confidence gained heading into the prestigious CONMEBOL Copa America, which also serves as part of the Reggae Boyz preparation for the World Cup qualifiers.

“This is a good step to play important matches, to play big tournaments, and to play strong opponents like the United States and Panama. They are two of the three highest-ranked Concacaf teams and we showed that we are closing in on this gap, even with the number of players not with us. So, I have to give a lot of credit to the players for the way they presented themselves for Jamaica,” Hallgrimsson said.