Cuba, Nicaragua begin preparation for the CONCACAF Nations League
The Nicaraguan team poses before facing Martinique for the CONCACAF Gold Cup at the Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee on July 8, 2017.

HAVANA, Cuba- Cuba and Nicaragua will play two friendly matches in Managua on March 22 and 25, according to the Cuban soccer federation.

The matches will serve as preparation for both teams that will debut in September in the first edition of the CONCACAF Nations League recently announced in Miami.

The qualifiers with 34 CONCACAF Nations League teams will be played on ç FIFA calendar dates from September 1, 2018 to March 4, 2019, while the group phase, consisting of three-tiered leagues, will be played in 2019. The competition will also serve to unify the path to the classification of the national teams from the region toward the recently expanded Gold Cup.

The Cuban team will initiate the competition at home against the Turks and Caicos Islands, then visit Granada on October 2, receive the Dominican Republic on November 3 and visit Haiti on March 4, 2019.

Meanwhile, Nicaragua will start the competition with a visit to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, then play two home games against Anguilla and Haiti and will close the visit against Barbados.

The results of the League of Nations qualifiers will be compiled into a global table, positioning the participating teams 1-34 based on the points won, the goal difference, and the series of additional playoffs. The table will be used to divide the teams in Leagues A, B, and C, for the first complete edition of the League of Nations of CONCACAF. The top six teams in the global table will join the six participants in the Hexagonal Qualifying Round of the World Cup in League A, the next 16 teams will qualify for the B League, and the remaining teams will be assigned to League C.

Cuba and Nicaragua have faced each other seven times with seven wins for Cubans, two losses and a draw. The last time was in Managua, Nicaragua on December 11, 2015 with a 1-0 win for the Nicaraguans.