Canada is in the same group with Cuba and Nicaragua for the first round of the Confederation of North, Central American & Caribbean Associations of Soccer (CONCACAF) Under-20 championship in Mexico.
The tournament takes place from February 10 to March 3, 2013.
The host country and 11-time champion has been drawn with El Salvador and Curacao in Group “D”, the United States, Costa Rica and Haiti are in Group “A” and the Group “C” contestants are Jamaica, Panama and Puerto Rico.
Canada meets Cuba on February 18 and Nicaragua four days later. The top two teams from each group will advance to the knockout round.
The quarterfinals will be held on February 26 and 27 and the semi-finals on March 1. The third-place contest and final will take place on March 3.
The top four teams to emerge from this tournament will participate in the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey from June 21 to July 13.
Australia, the Korean Republic, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Croatia, France, Portugal, Turkey, England, Greece and Spain have already qualified for the youth World Cup.
Meanwhile, the nominees for this year’s Confederation of African Soccer Player of the Year Award have been whittled down to five. They are the 2011 winner Yaya Toure, Andrew Ayew, Demba Ba, Didier Drogba and Alex Song.
Toure helped Manchester City clinch its first Premier League title in 44 years. His Ivorian colleague Drogba crowned his time at Chelsea by scoring the winning penalty in the Champions League final. He currently plays for Chinese club, Shanghai Shenhua.
Senegal forward Ba was the English league’s top goal scorer last season with 17 for Newcastle while Song was with Arsenal for the first half of the year before joining Barcelona. Ayew plays for the French club, Marseille.
The CAF also announced the three nominees for the Africa-based Player of the Year honour. They are Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Aboutrika and Zambians Rainford Kalaba and Stoppila Sunzu.
The award winners will be announced on December 20.
In other soccer news, the Council for East & Central African Soccer Associations (CECAFA) has unanimously thrown its support behind incumbent president, Issa Hayatou, in his bid to serve another term as the Confederation of African Soccer (CAF) president. The elections take place in March in Morocco.
“We have decided to support Hayatou again come the elections because we think he needs another term to consolidate and finish some of the things he needs to accomplish,” said Kenya Soccer Federation president, Sam Nyamweya.
Hayatou has been the president for the past 25 years.
In addition to Kenya, other CECAFA members with a CAF vote are Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Djibouti, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea.