Haiti team trains in Texas ahead of Argentina friendly
SAN ANTONIO: Haiti''s football squad, forced out of Port-au-Prince after a devastating January earthquake, is training in rural Texas ahead of a May 5 friendly against World Cup-bound Argentina.
San Antonio Sports, a non-profit group, organized the training camp for the players, who have gone from sleeping in the streets for three months to being treated to specially prepared meals and shopping trips for precious goods.
"I eat well here. I sleep well. But I cannot help but think of my friends and family who don''t have that," Haiti forward Charles Herold said. "I can''t get that off my mind."
Families back home are in tents and struggling for basic needs while the players enjoy special treatment even as they think of less fortunate loved ones who might still face danger back home.
"All the guys talk about it," forward Eliphene Cadet said. "There are still tremors now. That''s our biggest worry."
While all members of the national team survived, some despite having their homes collapse upon them, 32 people were killed in the collapse of the Haitian football federation''s headquarters.
Families have been staying at the playing field in the team''s home stadium, where the Haitian team hopes to play a match as soon as August, provided the pitch can be returned to match condition.
Haiti ranks 91st in the world while Argentina is ninth, but for Haitian players, the chance to provide inspiration to a nation in need makes their matchup with the South American squad as important as any World Cup match.
"In Haiti, people say ask when we''re going to play Argentina. People think you''re going to do something good for the country," defender Peter Germain said.
"If we win against Argentina, the people are finally going to be happy. We can do something positive for the country."