TORONTO (AFP) –
Three members of the Cuban men’s soccer team competing in the World Cup qualifying tournament have defected, international football‘s governing body said.
FIFA said the players defected Thursday, one day before a game against Canada.
The defecting players left Cuban coach Alexander Gonzalez with only 11 players on his team. He said another player couldn’t play because he was ill. Canada won the contest 3-0.
After Friday’s game, Gonzalez said there were always difficulties when Cuban sports teams travel abroad.
“As with any Cuban sport team that travels around the world, they’re all chasing the American dream,” he said. “And it’s difficult to try to keep the team together. Obviously, it’s a difficult situation for the team and it’s tough for me to talk about it.”
In January, two members of the Cuban women’s team defected in Vancouver after a game against Canada.