The Antigua night sky and trade winds, fireworks, dancers, a fire-throwing limbo dancer and soca artiste Tian Winter helped set the stage.
The event was held poolside at Sugar Ridge Resort with veteran sportscaster Lance Whittaker, from SportsMax, and Kirsy Rijo Charles Kullman, who performed bilingual duties, presiding over the draw.
The four CFU teams still in 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifiers – Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and St Vincent and the Grenadines – received a bye in Round 1.
The seven-group Round 1 draw is as follows:
Group 1 – Antigua & Barbuda; St Kitts and Nevis, and Aruba.
Group 2 – Grenada; St Maarten, and United States Virgin Islands.
Group 3 – Cuba; Bermuda, and French Guiana.
Group 4 – Barbados; Curaco, and the Dominican Republic.
Group 5 – Guyana; Puerto Rico, and Anguilla.
Group 6 – Guadeloupe; St Martin, and Suriname.
Group 7 – Martinique; British Virgin Islands, and Dominica.
Round 1 will be played from March 21 to 29; Round 2 May 15 to 21; Round 3 October 3 to 11; Fifth Place Play-off November 7 to 15; and the finals are scheduled for May 2017.
CFU General Secretary Neil Cochrane showed off his lighter side as the master of ceremonies for an audience that included CONCACAF Acting General Secretary Ted Howard, CFU President Gordon Derrick and his Executive Committee Members, as well as the presidents and general secretaries of the CFU Member Associations, Minister of Sport in Antigua & Barbuda EP “Chet” Greene, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Sports Senator Colin James and FIFA presidential candidates Jérôme Champagne and HRH Prince Ali Al Hussein.
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