Sat, Jun 16, 2007 - Page 18 News List

Cuban players miss match, 13 Haitians tracked down

AP , HOUSTON, TEXAS

Cuba's Osvaldo Alonso looks to the bench during a CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer match against Panama on Sunday in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Alonso was one of two players on Cuba's national soccer team who did not show up for a match in Houston on Wednesday.

PHOTO: AP

Two players on Cuba's national soccer team didn't show up for a Gold Cup match in Texas, while authorities tracked down 13 young Haitian players who disappeared from a New York airport.

Cuban players Osvaldo Alonso and Lester More skipped a first-round game on Wednesday when Cuba faced Honduras.

After Cuba was eliminated with a 5-0 loss to Honduras, Cuba coach Raul Gonzalez declined to say whether the two had defected.

"I'm a football man, not a politician. I will not answer that question," Gonzalez said.

In Texas, Alonso didn't return from a group shopping trip before Wednesday's game. More, one of Cuba's leading scorers, also missed a game against Panama in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Sunday.

Gold Cup spokesman Zac Emmons said the team was expected to fly back to Cuba on Thursday. Gonzalez and Alonso had checked out of their hotel on Thursday.

In Havana, the Cuban Soccer Association said that all officials were traveling for the Gold Cup and unavailable for comment.

Meanwhile, 13 Haitians who left their Under-17 World Cup-bound team at John F. Kennedy International Airport had been accounted for on Thursday. Two had gone to Boston and the rest were in New York City, Haitian Consul General Felix Augustin said.

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