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7944: Haiti and Cuba win at Copa (fwd)

From: Max Blanchet <maxblanchet@worldnet.att.net>

Cuba, Haiti edge towards Copa semis


By Lasana Liburd
MACOYA, Trinidad, 17 May 2001 (TEAMtalk) - Few countries in the Caribbean
can boast of a wealth of history comparable to that of Haiti or Cuba.

On Wednesday, with an explosion of offensive football, the two countries
displayed some of their resources in sport as well at the Joao Havelange
Centre of Excellence, Macoya. Haiti moved atop Group B with an emphatic 7-2
win over St Kitts/Nevis while Cuba edged Suriname 4-3 in a tense affair.

Both Group B teams can book their place in the 2001 Copa Caribe semi-final
today with wins at the same venue.

Haiti play Suriname from 5 pm while Cuba face St Kitts/Nevis at 7.15 pm.

Neither match-up may appeal to the general Trinidad and Tobago public who
would be more interested in the performances of the host nation and their
chief rival, Jamaica.

But it is hardly a gamble to suggest that the number of domestic
Professional Football League (PFL) coaches, scouts and managers would be
doubled at the Centre of Excellence today.

Two players, in particular, would deserve credit for this influx after
sounding their intentions on Wednesday evening in the most emphatic of

Little is known of Haitian captain Golman Pierre outside of his own country
and even less can be said of diminutive Cuban striker Alberto Delgado.

That is likely to soon change.

In an evening of open swashbuckling football, Pierre and Delgado both bagged
four items apiece to set their eyes firmly on the tournament record of ten
goals held by T&T striker Stern John.

It was also the first time since 1998 that a player managed as many goals in
one game. Martiniquan Rodolphe Rano grabbed his beavertrick in a 5-1 win
over Dominica while John tallied four in an 8-0 trouncing of the same team -
en route to breaking compatriot Leonson Lewis' tournament record of seven

Pierre looked fully capable of getting as many in just the first round.

An elegant player more dangerous for his movement off the ball than on it,
Pierre buried two each from head and boot with some well timed runs into the
opposing penalty area.

It was like trying to mark a phantom and St Kitts were hardly the first to
fall victim to the majestic Haitian.

It took Pierre just six 2002 World Cup qualifying games for him to amass an
enviable 12 goals - Honduran Carlos Pavon is second with 10 goals while
Dwight Yorke has five from 9 outings. Pierre also had five items in Haiti's
three Copa Caribe qualifying games.

Two strikes from Luicadet Olman and one from Clercant Clerjuste completed
the rout while Alexis Saddler and former CL Financial Jabloteh striker Keith
Gumbs got two consolation items for the Kittians.

If Delgado lacked Pierre's poise, he compensated for it adequately with
focus and effort.

Pierre ghosted menacingly at St Kitts' backdoor, Delgado, on the other hand,
simply broke the front door down.

Still it was Suriname who set the pace in the second game of the double

Barely a minute had elapsed before Surinamese striker Benny Kejansi
capitalised on a defensive error to drive past opposing custodian Odelin

They doubled their advantage in the 28th minute from the penalty spot after
Gordon Kinsaini was upended in the box by Cuban defender Alexander Driggs.

Suriname left back Malcolm Weibolt was the beneficiary this time and sent
Molina the wrong way from the ensuing spot kick.

Then came an impressive 32 minute spell from Delgado which left the mainland
country and less than a hundred vocal supporters reeling.

A 76th minute goal from substitute Clifton Sanvliet made for a close finish
and the Surinamese thought they had secured a point in the dying seconds of
the match.

A low drive from captain Orlando Grootfaam was partially blocked by Molina
and Ifenildo Vltjer, another substitute, bundled in the rebound only to be
ruled offside.

Still the controversial decision ensured that the spotlight remained on the
individual prowess of the diminutive Delgado.

Thrice he capitalised on low passes from his teammates to run on an take
unerring aim.

His most special strike, though, came in the 36th minute and brought the
scores level at two goals apiece.

Out on the right flank, Delgado spotted Surinamese custodian Roel Tempo
drifting off his goalline in anticipation of a cross that never came.

A swing of Delgado's right boot and an inch perfect lobbed effort exposed
his error of judgement and a furiously backpedalling Tempo could do no more
than push the ball further into his own net.

There will almost certainly be PFL representatives at the Centre of
Excellence today anxious to see him repeat the trick.