World Baseball Classic Qualifier set to begin in Tucson, Arizona

World Baseball Classic Qualifier set to begin in Tucson, Arizona
All games will be live-streamed on MLB's YouTube channel at

The first of the two six-team groups of the World Baseball Classic Qualifier is set to begin on Friday, 13 March, at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona, USA. The participating National Teams are Brazil, France, Germany, Nicaragua, Pakistan and South Africa.

All the games will be streamed live on the MLB YouTube channel.

Brazil is managed by former MLB superstar Barry Larkin and can count on a couple of players with MLB experience: outfielder Paulo Orlando and right-handed pitcher Andre Rienzo.

Andy Berglund, an MLB Envoy Coach with extensive experience in Europe, will be back at the helm for South Africa, after managing them during the 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifier. South Africa last appeared in the World Baseball Classic in the 2009 edition. South Africa's star will be Gift Ngoepe, the first-ever player developed in Africa to reach the Major Leagues (Pittsburgh Piratesm Toronto Blue Jays).

Nicaragua has only five players under contract with MLB organizations. The most notable of those is 27-year old corner infielder Cheslor Cuthbert, who appeared in 87 games for the Kansas City Royals during the 2019 season and will play for the Chicago White Sox in 2020. Manager Marvin Benard, who as a player appeared in 891 MLB games over nine seasons, will count on the contribution of the stars of the domestic professional league (LBPN, Liga de Béisbol Profesional Nacional), in particular center fielder Ismael Munguia and shortstop Elmer Reyes.

Germany and France failed to advance to the Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier last Summer but are still in the mix for a sport in the 2021 World Baseball Classic. Germany's manager Steve Janssen, a Belgian who managed the Netherlands to European titles in 2014 and 2016, won't count on Minnesota Twins star Max Kepler. Catcher Bruce Maxwell and outfielder Donald Lutz are the only players on the roster with MLB experience. Righthander Markus Solbach plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers at the AAA level and is the star of the pitching staff.

France will be managed by Bruce Bochy, a former MLB World Series winner with the San Francisco Giants. Bochy was born in France and this makes his son Brett, a right-handed pitcher who appeared in seven MLB games for the Giants, eligible to represent France as per the World Baseball Classic rules. Righthander Jason Alexander started at the AAA level for the Los Angeles Angels in 2019, while infielder Alen Hanson has appeared in over 200 MLB games over the last four seasons.

Pakistan, managed by Syed Fakhar Ali Shah, is the only National Team that doesn't have any professional players on the roster. Pitchers Inayat Khan and Muhammad Zohaib started the two games that Pakistan played in the 2017 Qualifier.

The complete ROSTERS

The schedule (all times are local, GMT minus 8 hours)


12.30 pm Pakistan-Brazil (1)
7.30 pm Germany-France (2)


12.30 pm Winner 1-Nicaragua (3)
7.30 pm Winner 2-South Africa (4)


12.30 pm Loser 2-Loser 3 (5)
7.30 pm Loser 1-Loser 4 (6)


7.30 pm Winner 3-Winner 4 (7-winner qualifies)
12.30 pm Winner 5-Winner 6 (8)


6 pm Winner 8-Loser 7 (9-winner qualifies)

Pool 2 is scheduled from 20 to 25 March. The participants are the Czech Republic, Great Britain, Panama, Philippines, Spain and New Zealand.

The top two finishers of each pool will advance to the World Baseball Classic 2021.