It took less than two days for the Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship to go full Concacaf.
Haiti was forced to start its opener against Honduras with 10 men — including a field player at goalkeeper — after some Covid-19 testing snafus. Honduras took full advantage to score a 3-0 win over Haiti on Friday afternoon in Guadalajara, Mexico, the opening Group B match.
Only in Concacaf.
It was a tough blow for Haiti, and it all started with a surprisingly nonchalant final line in a press release Concacaf sent out hours before the match.
“In the case of Haiti, part of their delegation arrived in Guadalajara, Mexico, too late to conduct testing prior to today’s match, therefore only those players and officials who complied with the competition’s testing regime will participate in the game,” Concacaf said.
About half of Haiti’s team was ruled ineligible for some or all of of Friday’s game, including most of the team’s technical staff, because Covid-19 tests were turned in late after travel visa issues kept many members of the team from arriving on time.
So Haiti played the first half with 10 men, including center back Odilon Jérôme in goal.
Major development for this Honduras/Haiti @Concacaf Olympic qualifier. COVID-19 protocols were not observed by Haiti and half the squad's test were given to the lab just yesterday. They will play with 10 men and a field player will be in goal. We're live on FS2 in about 10 min— Tyler Terens (@TNTerens) March 19, 2021
Eventually, after two extra tests came in negative, Haiti was able to bring on a goalkeeper and make an actual substitution later in the match, but by then the damage was done. Honduras scored all three of its goals in the first half.
The Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship kicked off Thursday as the U.S. and Mexico both opened with wins. Canada and El Salvador played in Group B later on Friday.