Piquionne, Martinique look to Gold Cup
ST. JOHN'S, Antigua -- He remains as one of the faces of Martinique football and despite a personally disappointing year with his club, West Ham, Frederic Piquionne wants to let the world know that the Frenchmen will be ready to compete at the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Piquionne spoke exclusively to CONCACAF.com after playing in the Caribbean Cup's match for third place, held on December 16 in Antigua. He admitted, after the 1-0 loss to Haiti, that while unsure about his future at the English club, there is a lot of football left in him.

"The tournament (Caribbean Cup) was a success for us because we qualified for the Gold Cup and we wanted to reach the finals of this tournament, but I missed my penalty kick against Trinidad in the semifinals," said Piquionne, referring to the setback on penalties against the eventual runner-up. "Overall, I think we played very well and we are ready for the Gold Cup."

"We are a small island and to have achieved so much is good for the country and young players."

The former Saint Etienne, Lyon and Monaco striker added that many teams will be surprised next year, when they get a glimpse of the talent in the Martinique squad and take note of the quality of its play.

In regard to his professional career, Piquionne remains optimistic that he will return to the top of his game at another club, even if it means leaving England.

"My almost three years at West Ham have been good, but I have not played this season," continued Piquionne, who earned one cap for France in a March 2007 friendly against Austria. "I am hopeful to be given a transfer in January and continue my career elsewhere.

"If it were up to me, at 34-years-old now, I would love to join Manchester United and be in the title hunt, but I do not have to stay in England. I could also see myself returning to play in France and make a contribution on another team."

While in England, besides West Ham, Piquionne has played for Portsmouth and Doncaster Rovers, scoring a total of 24 goals in all competitions since August 2009.

"I believe I still have plenty of years left in me," he added. "I started professional football quite late and I haven't suffered any serious injuries.

"I am keen to compete both physically and mentally."

If selected and given clearance to participate, Piquonne has pledged to his Martinique teammates that he will link up with them at the Gold Cup.

Les Matinino sealed its fourth appearance at the CONCACAF event as one of the Caribbean Cup's top four teams, winning Group B and advancing to the competition's semifinals.

Though it didn't ultimately lift the trophy at the Antigua Recreation Ground, Martinique will be aiming to do so in the United States next summer.

With players like Piquionne, who could doubt their potential for success?