Reggae Boyz end year as CFU’s number one-ranked team
ZÜRICH, Switzerland (CMC) — Jamaica will end the year as the highest-ranked Caribbean Football Union (CFU) team in the Fifa World Rankings.
The Jamaicans are ranked 55th in the latest world rankings from the apex body of the sport, making them the sixth-highest ranked team in the Concacaf region, and one of four inside the world’s top 100 teams.
The Reggae Boyz, as they are known, ended the competitive year on a high note when they summoned a comeback for the ages to defeat hosts Canada 3-2 in the second leg of their League A quarter-final in the 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League.
It was the first win for Jamaica on Canadian soil and it resulted in a 4-4 final on aggregate, with Jamaica owning the away goal tiebreaker.
The Jamaicans have advanced to the 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League Finals in March, and they have also qualified for the CONMEBOL Copa America 2024.
Earlier in the year the Boyz reached the semi-finals of the Concacaf Gold Cup in the United States, during which eventual champions Mexico stamped their class with a 3-0 win at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
The other three teams in the Fifa top 100 from the CFU are Haiti ranked at 89th (ninth in Concacaf), Curaçao at 90th (10th in Concacaf), and Trinidad & Tobago at 96th (11th in Concacaf), while Antigua & Barbuda, ranked 142nd in the world, is the fifth-highest-ranked CFU team and 14th in Concacaf.
All have held their positions from the previous month’s rankings, along with the next four CFU teams in the world rankings.
It was a tough year for Haiti after they reached the group stage of the Gold Cup and won two of their three matches, then struggled through the Nations League, eventually failing to win any of their four matches in League A and will therefore be relegated.
Curaçao lost out to St Kitts & Nevis in the first round of the Gold Cup and managed a single win in the Nations League, but T&T had a memorable year.
It was a year of revival for the Soca Warriors which ended with them collecting three wins in Group A of League A to finish second behind Panama and reach the Nations League play-offs against the Canadians, through which play-offs the winner will qualify for the CONMEBOL Copa America 2024.
The Soca Warriors also played in the group stage of the Gold Cup during which they won one of their three matches.
The Antiguans played in the first round of the Gold Cup but they were hardly a factor in Group D of League B in which Guyana were the dominant side.
The CFU top 10 in the world is rounded out by Suriname at 143rd (15th in Concacaf), St Kitts & Nevis at 147th (16th in Concacaf), Dominican Republic at 151st (17th in Concacaf), Guyana at 157th (18th in Concacaf), and Puerto Rico, who slid one place down to 160th in the world, making them 19th in Concacaf.
St Lucia, holding a world ranking of 167th, are the 11th-ranked team in the CFU and 20th in Concacaf.
The Surinamese ended the year with a third-place finish in Group B of League A in the Nations League, after failing to get out of the first round in the Gold Cup, but the Kittitians who started the year strongly finished the year with a poor run in the Nations League.
The Sugar Boyz, as the Kittitians are known, reached the group stage (third round) of the Gold Cup with a couple of morale-boosting wins in successive penalty shoot-outs but they will be relegated to League C after winning only one of their six matches in Group A of League B, to finish last of the four teams.
The Dominican Republic were second in Group B of League B, winning three of their six matches, but missed out on promotion to League A with crucial late losses in the campaign. The Guyanese, meanwhile, maintained a perfect record in League B of the Nations League with five consecutive wins to secure first in Group D and promotion to the top tier.
The Puerto Ricans reached the second round of the Gold Cup and finished second behind Guyana in Group D of League B, winning four of their six matches, and will be hoping to script their promotion story next time around, while the St Lucians made a first-round appearance at the Gold Cup before they finished second in Group A of League B behind Guadeloupe, winning three of their six matches.