Group D features three countries that have participated in the Unity Cup all three years, plus a new team to watch. Mexico and Honduras will look to extend their previous year’s successes, while Myanmar will look to build on their performance from last year. Gambia is an unknown in the tournament, but word from the African community is that they should not be taken lightly!
The very first night of the tournament will feature Mexico and Honduras, which will set the tone for the entire group in the tournament. Coach Abner has Honduras poised for another run, but Mexico has other plans as they’ve retooled with a new head coach and revamped roster.
Myanmar had a huge shocker win over team USA last year, something they can definitely build on this year. Honduras and Gambia battle the last weekend of the group stage in what already looms as a must-win match for both teams. See the game at Smith Playground (2100 S. 24th St.) on August 19 at 11 a.m.
On paper, group E is Senegal’s to lose. They had back-to-back impressive showings in their first two years of the Cup, and this young bunch looks to advance further than ever this year. While Senegal is the favorite, South Korea has been through this before; they fought hard over the last two years, but have yet to make it through the group stage.
Not much is known about Albania or Mali; neither has played a friendly match to date, and there has been little chatter about either of these teams on the Unity Cup networks. These teams play on August 12, so we’ll get a good idea of where they stand by then. Senegal and South Korea face off in the must-see match of this group at Hunting Park (1101 W. Hunting Park Ave.) on August 12 at 11 a.m.
In group F, and in the tournament as a whole, almost everyone is looking up at Sierra Leone. They dominated the tournament a year ago, allowing only 5 goals over 6 games before falling in the championship to Liberia. Needless to say, it will be a tough time for Togo, Lithuania, and Belize to overtake them for first place in the group.
If any team has the experience to do it, it would be Lithuania. Lithuania has had tough draws the last two years, but manages to push through. Keep an eye on the Lithuania-Sierra Leone match scheduled for August 18 at 12 p.m. Ramp Playground (3300-40 Solly Ave.).
Togo and Belize are the other two teams in this group. With Belize as a newcomer to the tournament, little is known of them, and Togo has been winless in the friendly matches played so far this summer.
To see other previews and predictions, read our previews for groups A, B, and C.
Make sure to see all 52 Unity Cup teams in action this summer!