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  • 11 / 16 / 2006



Raul Gonzalez Triana got off to a good start as the new coach of the Cuban national soccer team with 6 wins and 2 ties, and 25 goals scored while allowing only 2 in international competition.

The showing in the recent Caribbean qualifying round in Martinique was particularly encouraging. The Cubans will now head one of the two groups in the final round to be played in Trinidad and Tobago.

Triana told Granma that eight teams in two groups of four will compete in the final round in Port of Spain from January 31 to February 11.

Four teams will qualify from the Digicel Caribbean Cup to the 2007 Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Gold Cup, scheduled to take place June 6 to 24 in cities across the USA with venues to be announced in late November.

Cuba finished on top of its group at the Digicel Caribbean Cup Second Round Group I in Martinique with a 2-1 win over Haiti, 3-1 over Surinam, and a 0-0 tie with the host team, which included some players from the French and US leagues.

"The players are mentally prepared to win in Trinidad and Tobago," said Coach Gonzalez who brought tapes of the games in Martinique home so they can be shown on Cuban TV.

In Martinique, Gonzalez used his star players Lester More and Alain Cervantes sparingly, as both were nursing injuries. More, the teams top scorer, "was lethal," said the coach. He had one of the two goals against Haiti.

Gonzalez noted the excellent work of goalkeeper Odelin Monina as well as the defense made up by Bermudez-Marquez-Fernandez-Minoso. Bermudez was injured at the start of the first match and was substituted by Clavelo.

The team is scheduled to play an exhibition match with Panama a week before the final round in Port of Spain. "If there is a change of strategy it will be in the attack," said Gonzalez.

Source: Granma

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