Panama U17 women ready for Central American qualifying
Panama (pictured), shown during a recent training session will open its Central American qualifying campaign for the 2018 CONCACAF Under-17 Championship on October 24, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Federación Panameña de Fútbol)

CHITRE, Panama – There will be a single 2018 CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championship berth at stake starting Tuesday, when the Central American qualifying competition kicks off at the Estadio Milagros.

Four teams – host Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Honduras – will battle through October 28 for that lone spot.

Panama head coach Victor Suarez is eager to get started.

"Our purpose is to qualify for next year's CONCACAF qualifying in Nicaragua,” he said.  “For that, we have to be the best.”

It won’t be easy for the Panamanians, who have qualified twice for the CONCACAF event, but not since the 2012 edition.  Traditional power Costa Rica is the only Central American nation to progress three times, while El Salvador has done so on two occasions.

“The information we hold is not deep,” remarked Suarez.  “These teams have players that are being trained in the United States, mainly El Salvador, while Costa Rica has more than a year of preparation and Honduras will not make it simple either.”

As the opening whistle nears, the 37-year-old Argentinean – a former player with Talleres de Cordoba, Plaza Amador, Chorrillo FC, Tauro FC, Sporting San Miguelito and San Francisco FC -- has finalized the game plan with his squad.

“Our philosophy is to have possession, maintaining the defensive solidity and exploiting the game through the wings, which will allow them to give us difference-making options,” Suarez finished.