Cuba’s victory in the indoor- football (futsal in Spanish) Caribbean Tournament held in Havana, has consolidated its position as a regional force with a real possibility of making a mark at the Pre-World championships in Costa Rica next May.
Three qualifying places for September’s world championships in Cali, Colombia, will be on offer at the contest.
Cuba is back on track for a fifth participation in the world championships of a sport that has produced interesting international results and in which interest grows on the island every year.
The Cuban team, under the management of Clemente Reynoso, came to the central Caribbean event, held in the capital’s “Kid Chocolate” hall, intent on earning a ticket to Costa Rica, which they did convincingly as unbeaten winners of Group B.
With victories over San Martin (5-0), Guadalupe (4-0) and Jamaica (5-1), Cuba reached the final against the also unbeaten Group A winners, Curacao, who had beaten Guyana (5-2), Antigua and Barbudas (5-0) and Trinidad and Tobago (3-2).
The two finalists had the best goal averages of the group stage, Cuba with 14 goals in their favor and only one against them and Curacao with 13 in their favor and four against them.
Both sides guaranteed their places at the Confederation of Caribbean and Central American Football (Concacaf) championship, where the region’s best will compete for three tickets to the Cali world finals.
Group stage top scorers, with five goals each, were Ricardo Castillo from Cuba and the Trinidadian Jerwyn Baltasar.
In the final, the home five beat their counterparts from Curacao by five goals to zero, displaying ruthlessness in attack and a robust defense, during a game in which goalie Brenieht Suárez’s performance in stopping the rival’s attackers was outstanding.
Fernando Chapman, nominated, the Most Valuable Player, opened the scoring with a blistering shot in the 14th minute, and in the 29th Stalin Martinez scored the second from a converted free kick.
Cuba kept the pressure on in the second half and after 20 minutes Chapman scored their third. Karen Mariño brought their total to 5 with two goals in only two minutes, the 26th and 28th.
In the bronze medal match Guadalupe were beaten 4-5 by Trinidad and Tobago, who earned the right to a play-off against the third placed Central American side, prior to the contest in Costa Rica.
Cuba has participated in four indoor football world championships: Spain 1996, Guatemala 2000, Taipei, China 2004 and Brazil 2008, but failed to qualify for the last championships in Thailand in 2012.Share on FB Share on TT