14ymedio, Havana, 24 August 2023 — Cuban coach Jaine Colomé resigned from his position as technical director of the Havana soccer team on Tuesday, according to Play-Off Magazine. The former athlete and champion of the Caribbean Cup in 2012, denounced the poor diet and the lack of salaries for the soccer players, as well as the delivery, often incomplete, of equipment for official games and training.
“When I decided to be a coach, I always said that my responsibility and commitment was with the athletes, not with the managers: I didn’t want my athletes to suffer the same as I did,” he told the sports media. “I have been against several decisions of the officials, and I have let them know that.”
Colomé, who took the Havana team to third place in the National Soccer League, pointed out that during the first season in which he led the athletes, they were “barely fed,” which forced them to lower the training load to 50% at the request of methodologists. Otherwise, the health of the athletes would have been at risk due to an inadequate diet.
The coach, one of the candidates proposed to lead the National Team in place of Pablo Elier Sánchez, regretted that the support offered by the managers remained as “promises.” “Many of my players had families and did not receive a salary for playing soccer.”
The limitations suffered by the soccer players were exposed by Colomé to the leaders of the sport in Havana and before the Provincial Commission, but he only obtained more promises that “everything was going to be resolved, but in the end we never got any attention.”
The former coach recognizes that the situation on the Island is terrible, but “there are things that go beyond that and have to do with the leaders, who ignore those who really suffer and sacrifice themselves”: the soccer players. He says that no official showed up on the ground of La Polar, where they trained, to ask how they were and much less accompanied the team in the games. “They don’t even go to the Havana stadium to watch the team play.”
Marcel Hernández, captain of the Cuban national team, was also mentioned by Colomé, who highlighted that the athlete refused to continue playing on the Island because of the “deplorable” conditions in which his team was existing. The former coach thanked the workers of the La Polar factory, who were the only ones who supported the players by offering them ice and water. “They did more than many whose job it was to do it; in fact, the director (of sports) of the province spoke to the team only once in two years.”
Colomé concluded by saying that Cuban soccer is not going through a good time in terms of infrastructure, conditions and results. It requires “investment and betting on development, but here they don’t see it that way, and that is the cause of the bad times that this sport is experiencing.”
Translated by Regina Anavy
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