Update Post: December 4, 2023 10:45 pm
Today, November 20, the Russian team will play a friendly match with Cuba. Our team’s rival is in modest 169th place in the FIFA rankings and even arrived in Volgograd without the strongest team. Cuban coach Yunelis Castillo, answering a question about his players, said at the Championship:
“Unfortunately we arrived without some key players due to injuries. However, we have good news regarding the return of Karel Espino, our best defender, and captain Luis Javier Paradela, who returned from injury. We have high hopes for this match. “We will try to present the best lineup.”
Cuba’s squad for the friendly match against Russia was made up of 23 players.
Goalkeepers: Raiko Arozarena (5 international caps), Ismel Morgado (0), Yorlan Wilson (0).
Defenders: Yocel Piedra (38), Dariel Morejón (31), Junior Pérez (18), Carlos Vázquez “Cavafe” (17), Mario Peñalver (5), Romario Torres (2), Orlando Calvo (1), Alejandro Delgado (1) , Fabián Gloor (0), Elvis Casanova (0).
Midfielders: Karel Espino (22), Eduardo Hernández (5), Rey Ángel Rodríguez (1), Ricardo Polo Román (0).
Forward: Luis Paradela (33), Daniel Díaz (6), Christian Valiente (1), Reidel Sánchez (1), Alexandre Gómez (0), David Pérez (0).
Let’s be honest, these names mean nothing to us. If the Cuban Football Federation had replaced them with the names of 23 boxers, no one in Russia (including Valery Karpin) would have noticed the trick. With all due respect to Cuban football, it is unlikely that players from this country will be closely followed even by professional RPL scouts.
A story about the Cuban team
The Russian team has the least pop opponent possible! And perhaps the worst in its history.
But in Cuba there were those who were dissatisfied with the composition of the national team for the match against Russia. The federation or the coach is accused of lobbying, not to mention corruption. The absence of some players from the squad is associated not only with the injuries that Castillo’s teammate referred to.
The Adncuba.com website cites a harsh statement on social networks by journalist Alejandra Ramírez:
“Are they buying places in the Cuban soccer team? Seeing the consistent presence of careerless players on recent rosters, this wouldn’t surprise me at all. How can a person who has not even debuted in the national league perform at the national team level?
Since it is simply impossible to find statistics on players playing in Cuba, we can assume that the journalist is referring to players who have not yet played for the national team. According to Ramírez, the Cuban soccer leaders removed the team’s locker room leaders so that there would be more empty seats on the plane for their friends to occupy. “The hand washes itself,” concludes the journalist.
Training of Cuban national team players
Photo: Dmitry Golubovich, “Championship”
Sports journalist Andy Lance, in turn, writes:
“Those who follow me know about all the situations. They (the coach and the federation) are running out of outstanding players… And I wonder, is Onel Hernández still injured?
Hernández is the most expensive Cuban footballer according to Transfermarkt. This winger plays in the English championship with Norwich and is valued at 1 million euros. At the age of six, Onel emigrated with his mother and his sister to Germany, where he was reunited with his German stepfather. He grew up in Arminia from Bielefeld and once even played for the German under-18 team. In March 2021, Hernández, 28, made his debut for Cuba, although even before that he admitted that he was even ready to play for free with the team in his homeland. He played eight games and scored three goals, but has not played once since June 2022. This summer, Onel was on the list of candidates for the Cuban national team to participate in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, but he dropped out due to injury. . This championship season, Hernández has already appeared on the field 12 times.
JIT wrote that Coach Castillo gave preference to “young players who have proven themselves” and “outstanding newcomers to the Cuban championship.” And the appearance of Swiss Baden defender Glor in the team was described as a “brilliant and unprecedented addition” to the squad. He added that the remaining experienced players of the Cuban team will guide the youth.
But in Cuba, as we see, not everyone shares the pathos of the local media. In a match against a big European team, they want to play with the strongest team.