Four Cuban Soccer Players Escape in Miami After the Defeat in the Gold Cup Against Guatemala

Cuba debuted with a defeat against Guatemala by 1-0. (Jit)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 28 June 2023 — Footballers Roberney Caballero, Denilson Milanés, Neisser Sandó and Jassael Herrera left the Cuban national team after the 1-0 defeat in the Gold Cup against Guatemala. According to journalist Francys Romero, the escape took place in Miami before the team traveled to Houston, where it will face the Guadalupe national team next Saturday.

He pointed out that this brings the total to 33 desertions by Cuban athletes in 2023. “According to soccer agents, they have the potential to play professionally.”

The strategy announced by the Cuban Football Federation to prevent these escapes didn’t work. The Cuban sports authorities take away the passports of the athletes before they travel, and their use of cell phones in the hotel is controlled.

Last January, the president of the state Football Association of Cuba (AFC), Oliet Rodríguez, announced the formation of a register of Cuban soccer players in an automated system governed by the International Amateur Football Federation (FIFA).

“This new initiative would limit the access of Cuban players to other countries illegally, either in national teams or in clubs,” the federation representative warned. Caballero, Milanés, Herrera and Sandó cared little about complying with the regulations.

The pro-government media Jit limited itself to analyzing the defeat of the Cuban team. “The emotional blow was overwhelming,” it acknowledged. “The defeat (by Guatemala) was inevitable as the minutes passed, and the Caribbean team tried more with pride than with order, an insufficient effort given the circumstances,” it said.

According to figures offered by Play-Off Magazine, the Gold Cup has been the springboard for the escape of 19 soccer players from the Island. In the 2022 edition, Rey Ángel Martínez, 20, and Alberto Delgado, 22, broke off their relationships with Cuban sport.

In 2005, during a stay in Seattle, soccer players Yaykel Pérez and Maykel Galindo separated from the group. Pérez’s physical qualities led him to appear on the Chivas USA team, being recognized as the first Cuban in the military in a squad with Mexican roots. He also excelled with the Los Angeles Blues of the United Soccer League.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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