Thursday, June 14, 2007

Cuba players defect; 13 U17 Haitian Soccer players desert

What would a Gold Cup on US soil be without a few Cuban defections. Before last night's final match with Honduras, two members of the Cuban national team defected. No one seems to know were forward Lester More and midfielder Osvaldo Alonso are, but one place they are not is on their way back to Cuba.

There has been no official word, however when asked about it the country's coach said, "it's morally wrong to leave your country."

These two players join a growing as Alberto Delgado and Rey Angel Martinez defected in 2002 and in 2005 forward Maykel Galindo did the same thing.

In other news, thirteen members of Haiti's under-17 national soccer team deserted the squad during a layover at JFK airport. The team was waiting on a connecting flight to South Korea to prepare for the upcoming U17 World Cup.

Six of the players have returned, however the whereabouts of the other seven are unknown.

"It seems that some adults may have been involved. If so, they are going to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," said Felix Augustin, the Haitian consul in New York.

Authorities are looking into the matter. They suspect the extreme poverty and general instability of the country are leading factors in the players’ decision to flee.

Needless to say, this is a blow to Haiti's U17 chances in the World Cup.

Update: All 13 players have been found.

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