Cuban football faces something like the mythical task of Sisyphus, who eternally had to start again at the bottom of a hill he endeavored to conquest, every hopeful moment shadowed by a further setback.
Nonetheless this scenario never stifles the dream that Cuban football fans hold of future glory.
At the Central American Games in Veracruz last year, the national team played some fine football, good enough to foster dreams of qualification for Russia-2018.
This however was followed a short few months later by the collapse at the CONCAAF Gold Cup and the former Barcelona player Patrick Kluivert‘s rude arousal of the Cubans from their World Cup dreams. And so the story goes on....
What is going on with football in Cuba? How is it that a nation that consumes and plays so much football, consistently fails to impress on the international stage?
Without accounting for the difficulties of keeping talent at home and the consequent need for constant player replacement, the scarcity of boots, balls, decent pitches, international experience and the limited competition options that the domestic soccer scene affords are all contributing factors.
Nevertheless, Cuban football does not throw in the towel; it arises and advances.
The next item on the agenda is Olympic qualification, which will be sought by Manager, Raúl González Triana’s disciples in the U.S., in games against the home team, Panama, Canada, Olympic champions Mexico, Haiti, Honduras, and Costa Rica.
Eight teams competing for two tickets to the Rio-2016 Games. A tough prospect indeed....
The winner of the bronze medal in the finals in North America, Central America and the Caribbean will be given the possibility of a reprieve against Colombia, a team that, in Brazil-2014 showed their intention to recover their former position as regional football protagonists.
Even so, González Triana remains optimistic, assuring that the conditions exist for the first ever Olympic qualification by Cuban footballers. It only requires fewer blank spaces than there were prior to the World Cup qualifiers. The team’s recent win over Jamaica in Puerto Príncipe indicates that this is a competitive squad, able to hold their own and perhaps even spring a surprise on us.
As if their prayers had been answered, two games against Nicaragua in the Pedro Marrero Stadium in Havana took place. The Central American squad is in good form following a decent showing in their battle for a Russia-2018 ticket, a dream eventually snuffed out by Jamaica in the third round.
The “Nicas” will not be bringing any of their best players, but for the Cuban selection anything is better than nothing.
For now, the ever-growing body of Cuban football fans’ support their team’s Olympic dream; in the hope that talent, drive and bullet proof enthusiasm will be enough to ensure it does not turn into yet another nightmare.Share on FB Share on TT