Haiti, Josaphat proud to remain in Gold Cup contention

Haiti (pictured) celebrates after beating host Trinidad & Tobago in a Scotiabank CFU Men's Caribbean Cup fifth-place playoff match on January 8, 2017, in Couva. (Photo: CA-Images)

COUVA, Trinidad & Tobago – Jean-Claude Josaphat has enjoyed an interesting last few weeks.

He was handed the Haiti managerial reins at the end of December after Patrice Neveu stepped away from the post.

Then, despite only a short time to prepare, he guided Les Grenadiers to a first place finish in the 2016/17 Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean fifth-place playoff with a 2W-0D-0L record thanks to wins over Suriname (4-2 on January 6) and host Trinidad & Tobago (4-3 aet on January 8).

The achievement, which earned Haiti a berth in a two-game playoff with the fifth-place side from this month’s Copa Centroamericana for the last ticket to the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, made a strong impression on the long-time AS Mirebalais head coach.

“I have had wonderful experiences in the coaching world,” expressed Josaphat. “However, beating the most successful team in the Caribbean Cup…Trinidad & Tobago…and advance to the next round is the proudest moment of my coaching career. This is a good moment for the Haiti national team.”

According to Josaphat, his team’s success was due to belief.

“If you look at how we approached the two games here in Trinidad, we played with lots of confidence,” he commented. “The team showed a lot of character and really put in a solid effort in these two tough games. I am sure that if we can play with this same magnitude and intensity that we can qualify for the 2017 edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.”

Two years, in the Caribbean/Central American playoff for the 2015 Gold Cup, French Guiana defeated Honduras in the first leg at home 3-1, only to drop a 3-0 decision on in the return match.

Jospahat doesn’t have a preference as it pertains to a Central American opponent. He’s just happy that Haiti has an opportunity to make a seventh trip to the Gold Cup.

“I am not necessarily hoping to get a particular team and avoid another in the playoff against the Central American team,” finished Josaphat. “All teams in Central America are tough, so we will have to play as well as how we did here in Trinidad in order to qualify for the Gold Cup. It won’t be easy, but we can do it.”