(ABOVE) Haiti's Jean Sony Alcenat (red jersey) in Caribbean Cup action against Antigua & Barbuda on November 12, 2015, in Montego Bay, Jamaica.PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Placed alongside regional heavyweights Honduras, Panama and the defending champion United States in Group A of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Haiti faces a testing road in its sixth tournament appearance.
Les Grenadiers, though, remain confident and steadfast in their belief that with the right blend of mentality and talent, anything is possible.
“It is a very difficult group,” said head coach Marc Collat, adding, “but what I want the players to understand is that we really are able to compete with the other teams within the region.”
Beyond just that confident statement, the Haitians also have tangible reasons to believe that this summer’s regional showcase could prove memorable. They have twice qualified for the quarterfinals (2002, 2009) and now boast more roster depth than ever before.
Most notable perhaps is Kervens Belfort. Currently on the books with Cyprus’ Ethnikos Achnas, the 23-year-old is a dynamic forward, who has the pace, technique and instincts to make a big Gold Cup impression. The team’s leading scorer in Caribbean Cup play, Belfort championed Haiti’s third-place finish with five goals, including braces in wins over Barbados and Martinique. Indicative of his knack for performing on the big stage, he has also tallied four goals scored in just six career World Cup qualifiers. If the Haitians plot for Gold Cup success is going to come to fruition, Belfort will need to be at his absolute best.
Further bolstering their ambition is the steady play of Johny Placide. The Reims goalkeeper, 27, committed to continuing his international career with Haiti after featuring for Les Bleus at the U-21 level. Being sharp from the get-go will be critical, as he’ll surely be tested in the opener on July 7 against a Panama side that features two of the top ten scorers in the history of the Gold Cup (Blas Perez, 10 goals; Luis Tejada (8 goals).
With great challenge comes great opportunity for Haiti… can they seize the moment?
- Haiti Gold Cup Fixture List (Group A)
- July 7: Panama (Frisco, Texas)
- July 10: United States (Foxborough, Massachusetts)
- July 13: Honduras (Kansas City, Kansas)