Cuban footballer uses Gold Cup to escape to the USA
Cuban footballer Yasmani López has used his national team's participation in the Gold Cup to settle in the USA. Coach Raúl Mederos confirmed at a press conference that López left the team following Saturday's 7-0 defeat by Mexico.
"It's up to him, nobody else had anything to do with it, he made the decision all by himself," said Mederos. Already in the run-up to the tournament, the Cuban Football Association had feared that his players could use the Gold Cup to escape from the communist-governed island state. López was one of the most experienced players in the Cuban squad with 28 caps.
The fact that Cuban athletes use competitions abroad to escape the Republic is not uncommon. As "desertation", ie desertion, this is called in the official usage of the communist island. At the Pan American Games in 2010, four delegation members of the Cuban squad sat down - including the doubles Olympic champion in boxing, Guillermo Rigondeaux. At the 1999 Pan American Games in Canada, a dozen athletes fled.
Co-hosts USA started with a 4-0 (1-0) against outsider Guyana in the company's title defense. The goals for coach Gregg Berhalter's team were achieved by Paul Arriola after a nice pass from Schalke's Weston McKennie (28th minute), Tyler Boyd (51st, 81st) and Gyasi Zardes (55th). In the second game Panama prevailed 2: 0 (0: 0) against Trinidad and Tobago.
The Gold Cup takes place on Saturday (until 7 July) in the USA, Costa Rica and Jamaica and is first played with 16 teams.