The Cuban national soccer team will play two friendly matches in order to prepare for the Caribbean Cup, to be held during the month of November in Trinidad and Tobago, which gives a place for the champion to the 2016 Copa America and four to the 2015 Gold Cup, both in the United States.
As reported by AFP, the first of these will be held in Panama City, against the Panamanians, on August20, and the second match will be against the Guatemalans, four days later, also as visitors. It is valid to clarify that none of these two games will be played in FIFA date. Of these two teams, Panama is far superior to the Cubans and it is over sixty steps ahead of Cuba in the FIFA ranking, 31 by 95. However, Guatemalans are ranked 127, far behind us.
In the last three official matches between Cuba and Panama the Antilleans accumulate two losses and a draw, the last of these the rout suffered in the 2013 Gold Cup, where Cuba lost 1-6. The other two games were during the World Cup qualifier for Brazil 2014, where Cubans harvested a tie to one in Havana and then fell 0-1 playing as visitors.
The last two official meeting between Cuba and Guatemala were in the South Africa 2010 World Cup qualifier, contested in 2008; our team won at home 2-1 and then was defeated 4-1 away.
The Cuban Federation also plans to play a friendly on FIFA date on October 10 against Canada and another on October 14, again against Guatemala; both matches in the Pedro Marrero stadium in Havana.
For these games, the national coach, Walter Benitez, concentrated a total of 27 players in Ciego de Ávila, and announced that on the roster there are major changes. For now, he mentioned Pedro Dario Suarez, Tomás Cruz, Ariel Martínez, Alberto Gómez, Yenier Marquez and among strikers Yoandir Puga, Angel Rodriguez and José Ciprián .
For Benitez, “The first goal is to qualify for the Gold Cup and then to America, although the latter will be more difficult because the other teams are preparing very well to attend this tournament of such high caliber.” However, Cuba is the current champion of the Caribbean Cup, so is already qualifed in Group A with rivals pending, which should qualify in a previous round.