Ronaldo Damus (blue jersey) scored one goal in Haiti's win over St. Kitts & Nevis in the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship on February 18, 2017, in Tibas, San Jose, Costa Rica. (Photo: Victor Straffon/Straffon Images)
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- Haiti picked up at the 2017 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship in the same place it left off in last year’s Caribbean qualifying competition – winning and scoring a lot goals.
In the regional tournament, the Grenadiers went 7W-1D0L and scored 30 goals. On Saturday, they outdistanced St. Kitts & Nevis at the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa, 5-1, with five different players finding the back of the net.
One of those was Ronaldo Damus, the team’s joint-top scorer in qualifying on eight goals and who struck four times at the 2016 CONCACAF Under-17 Championship.
“A win is always the best way to start a tournament,” he told CONCACAF.com. “We have three points in the bag now. I am happy to have contributed in this way and to now score in an U-17 and an U-20 CONCACAF Championship is a memorable moment for me and I will always remember this special moment.”
With matches upcoming against the United States (February 21) and Panama (February 24), Damus says that his team must remain composed when facing more difficult tests.
“In order to get to the second round stage, we need at least one more win, so that is our aim now,” commented the 17-year-old, who plays for Real Hope Academy. “When you look at Panama and USA, they are two dominant teams in the region. They will be tough games for us as well. We cannot afford to take our feet off the gas now. We need to tell ourselves that we are basically three to four wins away from reaching the U-20 FIFA World Cup.
“We aim high and our goals will stay there as well. It is a matter of ensuring we do the simple things right and the rewards will come I am sure. So come Tuesday against the Americans, if we can approach how we did against St. Kitts and Nevis, then we should be fine.”
In seven previous CONCACAF Under-20 Championship appearances, Haiti has never won more than a single game. Damus, though, is not concerned with the past.
“The talent is here in the squad individually and collectively, so what we need to do now is deliver,” he finished. “This is our opportunity to shine.”