A total of 25 regional teams are set to do battle starting in March 2016, with four receiving byes to the second round.
The draw for the qualification competition was held this weekend in Antigua-Barbuda, with fireworks, dancers, a fire-throwing limbo dancer and soca artiste Tian Winter. This tournament will determine which teams can play in the 2017 Caribbean Cup proper.
No official reason has been given from the Caribbean Football Union or the Saint Lucia Football Association. The Bahamas, Bonaire, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands are the other territories which will be absent from this competition.
Contested since 1989, the Caribbean Cup has only ever had five champions. Jamaica won the 2014 title, beating Trinidad and Tobago on penalties after a 0-0 draw in the final. Saint Lucia made the second round in 2014. The national team’s best-ever finish was in 1991, when a team including Earl Jean, Victorin Weeks and Trevor Cadette was third, beating Guyana in a playoff in Kingston, Jamaica.