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Concacaf WCQ: Panama brace for challengers in Group D
The Canaleros are the lone team in the First Round of Concacaf WCQ that reached Russia 2018 and while many of Panama’s golden generation have hung up their boots, there are still many talented players, like FW Gabriel Torres.
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  • The Canaleros are the lone team in the First Round of Concacaf WCQ that reached Russia 2018. 
  • Dominican Republic also boast a new coach in former Saint Kitts and Nevis boss Jacques Passy.
  • One of the youngest teams in Concacaf WCQ is Barbados, but they are led by a coach, Russell Latapy, who has plenty of Concacaf experience.

 

MIAMI, Florida – After qualifying for their first ever FIFA World Cup, Panama have gone from hunter to hunted, as they headline the teams in Group D of Concacaf World Cup Qualifying for Qatar 2022, with Dominican Republic, Barbados, Dominica and Anguilla.

The Canaleros are the lone team in the First Round of Concacaf WCQ that reached Russia 2018, and while many of Panama’s golden generation have hung up their boots, there are still many talented players, like FW Gabriel Torres, MF Anibal Godoy and DF Michael Murillo.

There is also a new man in charge, with Danish manager Thomas Christiansen now at the helm. History is on their side, with Panama unbeaten in six meetings with Dominican Republic and in two matches with Dominica.

“I think it’s been a good draw for us, with all due respect to the teams that we are going to face, Barbados, Dominica, Anguilla and Dominican Republic. I think at present moment the Dominican Republic is the toughest of those, but certainly all of the teams are difficult and more so when playing away when we have to take a long trip,” said Christiansen in a recent interview with Concacaf.com.

Dominican Republic also boast a new coach in former Saint Kitts and Nevis boss Jacques Passy. The Mexican manager inherits a team that has all-time records of 2W-0L, 1W-1L and 4W-1D-0L, respectively, against opponents Barbados, Dominica and Anguilla.

Yet Passy know that means nothing if the players don’t execute on the field of play.

“First, I expect a determined mentality, a mentality in which they’ll leave everything. They have to give everything and grow their mentality and think that they have to win every match. Second, a team that has the capacity to strategize each match in an intelligent manner and always think critically about the right route to win. Third, I expect in addition to the mental and tactical side that there is a brotherhood, that it’s a team that is unified,” said Passy to Concacaf.com.

One of the youngest teams in Concacaf WCQ is Barbados, but they are led by a coach, Russell Latapy, who has plenty of Concacaf experience under his belt. The former Trinidad and Tobago international guided the Bajan Tridents to a first-place finish in their group in league C of the 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League and now hopes his young squad make great strides in Group D.

“We have a talented team and if we are able to put everything together at the right time, we can become very difficult. But it is a fairly young team, the average age is 22 or 23, so it is more of a team that we are trying to build for the future. I hope we can get the experience from these games and use that to try to get to the Gold Cup,” said Latapy in a recent interview with Concacaf.com.

While Dominica’s CNL ended with relegation to League C, they finished up their campaign in style with a 1-0 win over Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and it could be just the kind of result that kicks Dominica into gear. The island nation is known for their tough, physical play, making 90 minutes against Dominica an unwelcomed venture. A positive result in their opening match at the Dominican Republic could be the start of something special.

Rounding out the group is Anguilla, who are always a tough foe when playing, evidenced by their narrow 3-2 defeat to Puerto Rico in the 2019-20 CNL. The upcoming four matches will offer a golden opportunity for Anguilla’s football to take the next step.

 
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