2023-24 Nations League headlines week in CONCACAF

Photo courtesy CONCACAF
Photo courtesy CONCACAF

CONCACAF said on Tuesday that this week will feature the start of the 2023-24 CONCACAF Nations League, with the stakes higher than ever.

“Not only will teams in League A be targeting a place in the CONCACAF Nations League Finals, but the journey to secure a spot in the 2024 Copa America will also be on the mind,” said CONCACAF in a statement.

This Thursday the third edition of the Concacaf Nations League gets underway with matches in League A, League B and League C and many more games to come over the weekend.

In Group B of League A, CONCACAF said “an enormously important contest will be on the docket on Friday when Jamaica host Honduras in Kingston.

“Jamaica enjoyed a strong performance in the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup in reaching the semifinals, and with five players currently plying their trade in the English Premier League, no doubt they would like to progress to the Copa America,” it said.

“Honduras saw their Gold Cup campaign come to an end in the group stage, so a strong start in the Nations League would be a great way to put behind the frustration of last summer,” it added.

CONCACAF said a duel on Sunday in Guatemala City between Central American rivals Guatemala and Panama in Group A will be a must-watch.

It said these two teams enjoyed very successful Gold Cups this past summer.

CONCACAF said the Chapines won two matches to finish atop their group for the first time ever, while Panama reached their third Gold Cup Final, narrowly losing to Mexico in the Final.

Led by 2023 Gold Cup Best Player Award winner Adalberto Carrasquilla, the “Canaleros will be eager to return to CONCACAF play,” CONCACAF said.

It said “the intensity should be just as high in League B on the opening weekend, including a Group C encounter between Bermuda and French Guiana in Bermuda.”

CONCACAF said the hosts competed in League A in the first edition in 2019-20 and “no will be seeking a return to the big stage, while French Guiana are hoping the road to a first ever promotion begins with a victory away from home.”

“Two teams that took the breath away of fans across the region this past year will meet, as Guadeloupe welcome in Sint Maarten in Group A,” it said. “Guadeloupe set off plenty of fireworks during the 2023 Gold Cup, reaching the group stage from the Prelims and then scoring some of the best goals of the tournament.”

CONCACAF said Sint Maarten is “another amazing story, having been promoted from League C thanks in large part to Gerwin Lake, who led all players in scoring in the 2022-23 CNL with eight goals.”

One of the most exciting players in the Caribbean will feature in the opening match of Group A of League C on Thursday, as Yannick Bellachasse and Saint Martin face Anguilla, CONCACAF said.

It said Bellachasse has four career goals in the CNL, and also recently scored in the 2023 Concacaf Caribbean Club Shield.

CONCACAF said another feared striker from the Caribbean will be on display on Saturday in a Group C contest, with Turks and Caicos Islands FW Billy Forbes taking a crack at British Virgin Islands.

“Forbes was sensational to close the 2022-23 CNL, scoring four goals including a brace to give his side a big 2-1 win versus Bonaire,” it said.