The emergence of Duckens Nazon (blue jersey) was key to Haiti's success in 2015. (Photo: Mexsport)
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Haiti’s chances of earning a place in the 2016 Copa America Centenario were dented Tuesday, when the Fédération Haïtienne de Football announced that star forward Duckens Nazon will miss Friday’s play-in match against Trinidad & Tobago in Panama City, Panama.
Since the encounter does not fall on an official FIFA date, the 21-year-old has not been released by his French club Stade Lavallois (Laval), which has a Ligue 2 game at Nancy, also on Friday.
In a statement, Nazon said: "My dear compatriots and dear teammates. It is with great sadness that I announce that I will not be present at the qualifying match against Trinidad. I thank the coach and coaching staff of the national selection for their efforts with my club to release me for this match of great importance to me and to us all. This game is not positioned during the FIFA dates. My club has decided, as is its right, not to release me for this game. Although it pains me, I respect this decision motivated by the injury of the club’s striker. I have to be ready to play. I offer to the national team my full support for this match. I know my teammates have the quality and determination to get this qualification. Come on, guys, take us to the Copa America!”
Nazon, who scored in Laval’s 2-1 Coupe de France loss at Granville on Saturday, rose to prominence during the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, netting both of Haiti’s goals. He has also scored twice in qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup to lead Les Grenadiers.
The T&T-Haiti winner will earn a place in the 2016 Copa Centenario America.