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Cuban coach admits to defections prior to Canada match

Associated Press

10/12/2012 11:55:48 PM

TORONTO - The Cuban men's soccer team came to Canada with 15 players. But it only had 11 when it played Canada in a World Cup qualifier.

Pressed on the issue after the game, Cuban coach Alexander Gonzalez was initially reluctant to discuss anything but soccer, however, he admitted through an interpreter that some players had left the team.

Gonzalez said he had a squad of 15 players when he left Cuba and that four had since left the team. One of those was sick, he added without elaborating.

Gonzalez lamented the departures.

"As with any Cuban sport team that travels around the world, they're all chasing the American dream," he said. "And it's difficult to try to keep the team together ... Obviously it's a difficult situation for the team and it's tough for me to talk about it."

Canada dressed 10 substitutes for the game. Cuba's bench, meanwhile, was empty other than for its coaches.

Canada, ranked 61st in the world, defeated No. 146 Cuba 3-0.