Haiti U20 women make history…let the celebrations begin!

Haiti players lift head coach Marc Collat in celebration after defeating Canada in the 2018 CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s match for third place to qualify for the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. (Photo: CA-Images)

COUVA, Trinidad & Tobago — It is the happiest of anniversaries in Haiti. 

Women’s football is in its 40th year in the Caribbean nation and, thanks to qualifying for the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, the celebrations will be even more joyous.

Haiti booked a ticket to France by defeating Canada, 1-0, in the 2018 CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship third place match on Sunday at Ato Boldon Stadium.

“It’s very important because this year marks the 40th anniversary of women’s football,” Haiti head coach Marc Collat said.  “As a country, we’re certain everyone is going to remember it.”

It was a vastly different result when the teams met in Group A play, as Canada cruised to a 4-0 victory on January 22.

With a first-ever trip to the CU20W semifinals confirmed on the strength of 3-2 wins over Trinidad & Tobago and Costa Rica, Collat made nine changes to his side in the final group stage encounter, including resting star Nerilia Mondesir.

As a result, when Haiti and Canada met again for CONCACAF’s third and last World Cup berth, Collat was confident his squad would submit a better performance. 

He was right.  The Haitians made sure Sherly Jeudy’s first-half goal stood with their best defensive performance of the tournament, shutting out a Canadian side that scored 11 goals in three wins to finish atop the Group A table.

It was only Haiti’s second-ever CU20W clean sheet, after playing Jamaica to a 0-0 draw in 2012.

“Defensively, they did what I required them to do and I’m very happy about that,” said Collat. 

The celebration will continue Sunday for Haiti, the first-ever Caribbean nation to qualify for the U-20 Women’s World Cup, but the work begins anew come Monday.

“It’s a relief, but it is going to make us train harder and even in better condition going forward from here to represent CONCACAF at the World Cup,” Collat finished.  “We cant think about the past.  We have to think about the future.”