Cuba's absence creates opportunities in the men's competition at the Central/Caribbean Games

I commented earlier that the women's competition had been rather clear-cut, with the three strong teams advancing to the PanAmerican Games and the next ones in the ranking getting a chance in the upcoming 're-qualifying' event. On the men's side I noted that it promised to be a little bit more exciting, as there would be three teams vying to be among the two joining hosts Mexico in Guadalajara in October 2011. It could have been tougher, also on the women's side, but most definitely on the men's side, if Cuba had not decided to refrain from trying to qualify. Their men's team showed enough strength in the recent PanAmerican Championship that a top position this week would have been a certainty.

As it now is, after two days of group play, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Venezuela have already joined Mexico in the semifinals and in the hunt for a direct ticket to Guadalajara. At this point it would seem premature to speculate about which team among the three will have to be content with a chance in the 're-qualifying' instead. The opponents that these teams have had are too weak to serve as measuring rods. But among the three weaker ones, Guatemala may seem to be in the best position to beat out El Salvador and Nicaragua in the chase for the second 're-qualifying' slot. The deciding matches will be played on Friday.