Sat | Jul 11, 2020

Hexed - JFF finds possible World Cup ­Qualifying structure changes ­‘disadvantageous’

Published:Saturday | May 9, 2020 | 12:14 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer
Jamaica senior men’s football team striker Javon East reacts to what he felt was an unfair decision against him by the referee during a Concacaf Nations League game against Aruba at the National Stadium on Saturday, October 12, 2019.
Jamaica senior men’s football team striker Javon East reacts to what he felt was an unfair decision against him by the referee during a Concacaf Nations League game against Aruba at the National Stadium on Saturday, October 12, 2019.

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) general secretary Dalton Wint says that any potential changes to the Concacaf hexagonal round for the FIFA World Cup qualifiers could present challenges to the nation’s aim of qualifying for Qatar 2022.

Wint’s comments were in response to Concacaf president Victor Montagliani’s recent remarks indicating changes to the six-team format because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Leagues around the world have been suspended or forced to end their seasons while FIFA suspended its March and June international friendly windows. He is also doubtful about matches being played in September, including the start of the hexagonal round. In an interview with Canada’s onesoccer.com on Tuesday, Montagliani hinted that the final round could be expanded to have more countries although he gave no indications on how it would work.

“Obviously, it would be bigger, but what that number is, I don’t know until we have a calendar. Until we know from FIFA how many windows we have, it’s going to be very hard for me to say it’s going to be this, that, or the other,” Montagliani said.

POSSIBLE DRAWBACK

Wint says that the prospective changes could be a drawback for the JFF.

“It might be disadvantageous to us,” he said. “It depends on how the fixtures are set up because we do have a plan in our heads that we are approaching corporate Jamaica with, and that is to play 10 games. If we are having more games with a shorter time, then you might have some difficulty in acquiring the services of your best players, the facilities that you might need may not be available to you if you have more games, and the timeline in which to complete these things could cause us not to be prepared as properly as we would have wanted.”

The hexagonal round, or the “hex” as it is commonly called, is normally used by Concacaf to determine the region’s World Cup qualifying countries.

Currently, Jamaica is ranked fourth in the region according to the latest FIFA world rankings, a position that would see them qualify for the final round should the rankings remain unchanged by the cut-off period in June. Mexico, the United States, Costa Rica, and Honduras are the other countries in the top six poised to join the Reggae Boyz.

While Wint says that he wants Jamaica to maintain the advantage it has earned, he would not be opposed to a Concacaf proposal that makes sense.

“If there is something put on the table that is feasible and reasonable, then we will accept it,” he said.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com