HOUSTON, Texas – Saturday night’s 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup quarterfinal between Haiti and Canada will have an extra special meaning for Haiti MF Mikael Cantave.
Born in Ottawa, Canada to a Haitian father and a Guadeloupean mother, Cantave represented Canada at the youth national team level, playing with Canada at the 2013 Concacaf Under-17 Championship and appearing in a match at that year’s U-17 FIFA World Cup.
However, last year Cantave opted to make a one-time international switch to Haiti and now will face Canada in the high-stakes affair of a Gold Cup quarterfinal.
“It’s special, coming into the tournament I knew there was a possibility of facing Canada, I didn’t necessarily focus on it but it was in the back of my mind. It’s here now so it’s definitely special for me,” said Cantave in an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com.
For Cantave, having the chance to play at the highest level with Haiti is the thrill of a lifetime.
“First and foremost, it’s an honor to be able to represent my family’s country, where my ancestors are from. Every time I hear the anthem, every time I put on the jersey and wear the colors, I feel a sense of pride and I want to give everything for the Haitian people so it’s definitely an honor and very special to me,” said Cantave.
While there are no players from Canada’s 2013 U-17 team currently on the Canada Gold Cup roster, Cantave is still plenty familiar with the squad and knows there will be plenty of buzz surrounding Saturday night’s clash.
“A lot of people are excited to watch the game, so I know it’s going to be a special game for everybody.”
If anything, Cantave has now formed part of two teams that are embracing the development of young players and are greatly reaping rewards.
“Both teams are putting a lot into the future with young squads and combining youth with experience, I think the progression is positive for both teams. They are both in the quarterfinals, both had a good first part of the tournament, so I think both are on the right track,” concluded Cantave.