July 1 – Haiti will “go out to win” their final group match against Honduras to clinch a ticket for the quarterfinals and cement the Caribbean’s fine showing at the Gold Cup.
The Caribbean are enjoying a productive Gold Cup with up to four island nations in the running for a spot in the last eight, a contrast with 2021 when just one Caribbean team side reached the quarter-finals and Haiti’s coach Gabriel Calderon is keen for his side to progress by being “aggressive.”
“The game plan is clear,” said Calderon at a news conference on the eve of the clash with Honduras. “We are going to go out to win. Mathematically speaking, a tie would suffice. But we are ambitious and we have the tools to win the match.”
In 2019, Haiti reached the last four of the Gold Cup before a disappointing 2021 campaign, exiting in the group phase. Calderon however highlighted the talent at Haiti’s disposal, arguing that the country can continue to take strides. They opened the Gold Cup with a 2-1 win against Qatar but lost 3-1 to Mexico. Honduras are in the hunt as well after rescuing a late point against Qatar.
“It’s a country that not everybody knows well,” explained Calderon. “They have many players that were born or raised abroad. We have great players playing in America, in Europe, and that’s why the team is so competitive. There is a federation that tries to do their best.”
“FIFA and Concacaf help a lot in terms of development programs and those factors involved in the development of Haiti in football. There is a lot to do. There is more room to improve.”
He also drew a parallel with the Caribbean at large, saying: “I’ve seen many technical development programs in Caribbean countries. This is a region with a lot of potential that was not developed. We have many excellent players in many countries, but there was no structure to exploit that talent, to capitalise on that talent.”
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