Five Haiti players positive for Covid before Gold Cup debut

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Five Haiti players and one coach have tested positive for Covid-19 in the build up to the Gold Cup but the team's tournament opener against the United States will go ahead on Sunday, CONCACAF said.

"Ahead of the start of the Gold Cup Group Stage, all competing national teams went through several rounds of testing," CONCACAF, the governing body for football in North and Central America and the Caribbean, said in a statement.

"In Covid-19 testing carried out last week, five Haiti players and one assistant coach returned a positive test result. All of the individuals were immediately isolated and CONCACAF has ensured that they and the Haitian Football Federation have been offered the necessary support."

The entire delegation was required to isolate and multiple rounds of testing were carried out without any further positive results emerging.

"Tonight’s match between Haiti and USA will go ahead as scheduled," CONCACAF said.

Haiti qualified for the 16-nation tournament through the preliminary round played July 2-6 in Florida, beating St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Bermuda.

The Gold Cup proper opened Saturday with defending champion Mexico's goalless draw against Trinidad and Tobago in Texas.

But the event has already been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, less than 24 hours before its tournament opener, Curacao were excluded from the competition due to a coronavirus outbreak. Their place will be taken by Guatemala.

Cuba were also excluded before the preliminary round for failing to comply with coronavirus prevention protocols.