Montego Bay/Port-au-Prince, Feb 18 (DPA) Haiti’s team has been banned from taking part in the CONCACAF U-17 Championship in Jamaica, due to the ongoing outbreak of cholera in Haiti.
The tournament, which sees the best U-17 teams from the North -, Central American and Caribbean region compete, also acts as a qualifying tournament for the U-17 world championships.
Dadou Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian football federation, made the exclusion public Thursday. The Haitian delegation was mistreated and interrogated for hours when they arrived at Montego Bay airport Feb 3, he said.
On Wednesday, following a match against Costa Rica that was played at extremely high temperatures, two of the Haitian players had felt unwell.
According to Jean-Bart, a medical team then forced the whole team to return to their hotel and stay there, with heavy security intended to make sure that no Haitians left the premises.
The mayor of Montego Bay asked Jean-Bart to call in a plane from Haiti so that the team could return home without infecting any other passengers, said Jean-Bart, a doctor by training himself.
According to Jean-Bart, Jamaican media reported Thursday that the Haitian team had withdrawn because its members suffered from “a mysterious illness” and could not field the required seven players.
Jamaican authorities are currently busy trying to secure a plane that can take Haitian players back to their country, he said.
“This is the first time that a team is banned from a World Cup due to an alleged illness,” an angry Jean-Bart complained.