CMOQ success underscores Honduras’ ambition

The Honduras U-23 team (pictured) gathers together after defeating the USA in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Mens' Olympic Qualifying Championship on October 10, 2015, in Sandy, Utah. (Photo: Mexsport)

SANDY, Utah – The victory was as impressive as the accomplishments for which it paved the way. 

Aberth Elis scored both goals as Honduras earned a 2-0 win over the United States on Saturday to reach the final of the 2015 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship (CMOQ) and qualify for its third straight Olympic Games. 

In Tuesday’s CMOQ decider at Rio Tinto Stadium, the Hondurans – once again – will face Mexico, a 2-0 winner over Canada. The sides also met in the 2012 final, with the Mexicans lifting the trophy following a 2-1 extra-time triumph. 

Regardless of that encounter’s ultimate scoreline, Honduras coach Carlos Tabora believes that the success of recent under-23 sides demonstrates the development of football in his country. 

“It gives the greatest satisfaction to see the results that have been gained,” said Tabora, who was the head coach at Platense earlier this year. “I said it before that the presence of Jorge Luis Pinto has permitted this generation to grow in all footballing concepts and in the best way to be competitive in Rio.” 

The influence of Pinto -- the former Costa Rica and current Honduras national team head coach -- over football in the Central American nation has been far reaching. His plan calls for an integrated approach that leads to long-term success at multiple levels. That’s why he is active with the under-23, patrolling the sidelines throughout the CMOQ. 

“The tactical application has been fantastic and the physical aspect has been top notch,” the 50-year-old expressed. “This achievement is priceless and is for the entire country.” 

After reaching the Olympic quarterfinals in 2012, what can we expect from the Catrachos next year in Rio de Janeiro? 

Tabora was firm in his expectations: “We are going for a medal in Río.” 

A win over Mexico to complete CMOQ ply would be the perfect step in such a direction.