Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Jamaica's Under-17 Reggae Boyz will face hosts Panama and Barbados in Group A of their first-round FIFA CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, which will be held from April 6-18 in Panama City.
The Wendell Downswell-coached Jamaicans are tipped to advance to the quarter-finals, after topping their group in the final round of the Caribbean Football Union qualifiers last year.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the quarter-finals, the winners of which will qualify to the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, October 17 to November 8.
It will be the first time that Panama is hosting the CONCACAF finals and the first time a 12-team CONCACAF Under-17 tournament will be held in Central America since 1994 in El Salvador.
All tournament matches will be held at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City and the Estadio Agustin 'Muquita' Sanchez in La Chorrera.
Mexico have won the CONCACAF Under-17 title a record four times, while defending champions United States captured the crown on three occasions.
Hosts Panama and Mexico, by virtue of their 2011 World Cup finish, were pre-seeded into Group A and Group D, respectively.
Defending champions Mexico are drawn in Group D alongside Honduras and Cuba. Former winners United States are paired in Group C with Guatemala and Haiti. Canada, Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago are drawn in Group B.