Canada set to play with understaffed Haitian team missing 7 players due to COVID-19


Canada will face an exhausted Haiti at the Gold Cup on Thursday with seven Haitian players sidelined by COVID-19.

Haiti only dressed 17 players on Sunday in a 1-0 loss to the United States after five players and an assistant coach returned positive test results.

Coach Jean-Jacques Pierre said Wednesday that two other players were unavailable.

“We have taken the necessary steps whenever we learn something to protect the rest of the group and continue to prepare. [for] this competition, ”said Pierre through an interpreter in a virtual availability.

Canada’s coach John Herdman has been sympathetic to the plight of Haiti.

“It’s not easy to live with these [COVID] protocols. It’s tough for the players, ”he said.“ And again, once the virus is in an environment, it’s very difficult to contain. We are lucky here. We have a lot of medical staff, people who are focused on this. But I know some teams, they just don’t have enough resources. “

“I feel for Haiti. They’ve lost some good players. One thing I know about Haiti is that they always show up. It doesn’t matter who’s on the pitch. The passion, the pride, the battle always comes. The criticism for us is the mentality of not falling into the trap of taking this Haitian team lightly. I don’t think you can take a Haitian team lightly.

Haitian captain Ricardo Ade showed this challenge.

“There are people affected by COVID but we remain focused and motivated,” he said through an interpreter.

“We will fight [Thursday]. With a victory, we will make the Haitian people smile again, “he added.

Herdman said all of his players will be available on Thursday with the exception of Ross County midfielder Harry Paton, who is still working through COVID protocols stemming from time spent with his Scottish club.

The 70th-ranked Canadian men beat Haiti (83rd) 4-0 overall when they met in a two-man CONCACAF World Cup qualifying series last month. Canada are 9-2-2 against Haiti, one of the losses being a 3-2 loss in the 2019 Gold Cup quarter-finals – a game that put the Canadiens up to a 2-0 lead .

Canada, which beat unranked Martinique 4-1 in its opener Sunday, ends Sunday’s Group B game against the 20th-ranked Americans. All of Canada’s group matches are played at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

“It’s a game we have to win”

As Canada showed composure in recovering from a goal conceded in Martinique in the 10th minute, it received six warnings along the way. A second yellow against Haiti would force Stephen Eustaquio, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Steven Vitoria, Liam Fraser, Lucas Cavallini and Alistair Johnston out of the US game.

“It’s a really tough situation,” Herdman said. “But I think it’s a game we have to win. You know, if you win that second game, it gives you full control. Usually it puts you in the quarter-finals and allows you to accommodate those considerations in Game 3, although Game 3 is USA, and I’m sure everyone will want to play it.

“We will put the best team out there tactically to win the game and ‘what will be, will be’ – whatever happens in this game will happen,” he added. “We have to make sure we get the result and that we are comfortable before we can start thinking about the yellow cards and the rotation.”

Frantzdy Pierrot, who scored three goals in 11 minutes in Haiti’s 4-1 victory over Bermuda in the preliminary round, was among those who didn’t dress up against United States Pierrot, who plays for Guingamp in French second division, already has four goals in the tournament.

Haitian Duckens Nazon, whose last club was Belgian Sint-Truiden, played against the Americans. Canada will remember Nazon, who scored the first goal and set up the third in Haiti’s comeback victory over Canada in 2019. He has three goals in this tournament.

The Canadians did not help their own cause in the 2019 loss. The first goal conceded came from a bad back pass while the second was from the penalty spot. Alphonso Davies lost the man he scored on third base.

A potential late equalizer from Atiba Hutchinson, from a Davies free kick, was flagged offside.

Former Vancouver Whitecap Bryan Silvestre, now with USL’s Miami FC, helped keep Haiti in the game against the United States with several big saves. The six-foot-five goaltender, a former U.S. Youth International, is a product of the Whitecaps residency program.

The CONCACAF Championship, which features 16 teams including Qatar, host of the 2022 World Cup as guest, runs through August 1 across the United States. Haiti had to survive the preliminary round of the tournament, beating Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Bermuda, to reach the main field.

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