The hostility of the current FHF administration towards players in Haiti have become so obvious that no one expects the current administration to adopt a fair selection process to ensure that Haiti is represented by the most qualified and committed football players. However, the latest decision to discard the 2016 CFU Golden Glove player Rendondio Alliance so that invitee Canada-born player Josue Duverger can find a spot in the team has taken everyone by surprise.
After winning the CFU U-17 Cup with flying colors where he and many of his teammates wiped out the award tables, the young Redondio flew to Brazil with the team to start a long training camp that lasted over two months. Now ready for the big dance, the team is on its way to Panama where the best 12 CONCACAF U-17 teams will clash for 4 berths to the next 2017 FIFA World Cup in India. Unfortunately, the team will be without its star goalkeeper Redondio Alliance. Instead, Josue Duverger will assume the gatekeeper role.
Duverger is a young Canadian who is also eligible to represent Haiti. Currently, Duverger plays for a youth team in Portugal but it is uncertain that he has ever faced an hostile audience in an international tournament, a valuable experience that Redondio has plenty of. During the 2017 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, Duverger was selected but did not play because the FHF had another goalkeeper who also plays abroad. It is possible that Duverger is a good goalkeeper but no one knows that for sure because he has not earned the string spot on merit due to better performance. His birth in a foreign country is the driving force behind his selection over the Haiti-born Redondio.
Ironically, it is not foreign football experience or lack of good performance that led to Redondio getting the boot. He has been playing in Brazil with the team against many Brazilian youth clubs. His performance was stellar at the CFU Cup where he won the Golden Glove Award. As sad as it is, he is replaced simply because the FHF found someone born overseas who plays his exact position! Had Duverger played a forward position, then another rising star like Celso or Nael, the leading scorers of the team, would have been replaced! In the mind of Yves Jean-Bart that foreign is necessarily better than local.
The fact that the battle-tested Redondio will be replaced by a player who has never played an international tournament before is not too troubling to sport journalists and analysts in Haiti used to Yves Jean-Bart’s administration. In fact, for years a strong hostile culture has been developed within the FHF administration that is very biased against the players with direct ties to Haiti. Yves Jean-Bart, the president of the FHF, argued last year that there are no good football players in Haiti and that Haiti should simply focus on preparing children in special football academies for foreign markets so that they can later come back to form the national teams. In other words, football in Haiti should not be tributary to the country’s own national teams.
However, what shocked many observers is the lack of scruple in choosing an untested overseas player over a rising young local star just weeks after the shocking elimination of the senior national team by lowly ranked Nicaragua. As a reminder, after Haiti was upset in Port-au-Prince with an almost full house of the FHF preferred overseas players and faced early elimination from the 2017 Gold Cup qualifying, a mostly local and less preferred US-based players corrected the wrongs of the previous squad by beating Trinidad and Suriname to earn the playoff versus Nicaragua for the last berth to the prestigious regional tournament. Ironically, for the playoff, the FHF replaced 8 of the starters by the very same players who failed the country in Port-au-Prince.
Redondio Alliance is the latest victim of this unhinged and anti-Haiti policy adopted by the FHF whose mission is actually to develop football within the country. This young man has just learnt the harsh reality of the extreme hostility of the FHF towards players in Haiti.