Haiti, Haitian Times, Inglês



As the Haitian soccer D1 Special Championship group stage nears its conclusion, the drama intensifies heading into the playoffs. The Football Inter Club Association, traditionally a strong contender, has struggled throughout the season and failed to secure a playoff spot. In contrast, underdog Real Hope Football Academy has comfortably secured its place in the playoffs with an undefeated streak.

CAP-HAITIEN — Real Hope Football Academy clinched the first playoff spot in the 2024 D1 Special Championship by defeating the struggling Football Inter Club Association (FICA) 2-0 at Parc Felix Saint-Victor in Cap-Haïtien on Sunday evening. 

Clifford Jean, a midfielder who played his first game against FICA and scored one of the goals, expressed his excitement. 

“It means a lot to me,” Jean told Cap-Haïtien News afterward. “One of my biggest dreams was to play against FICA.”

Jean scored Real Hope’s second goal in the 95th minute, skillfully navigating through FICA’s defense before delivering a low shot to the bottom left corner. Despite being a substitute, he was named Excel’s Man of the Match. Mondestin opened the scoring for Real Hope in the 27th minute.

“It means a lot to me. One of my biggest dreams was to play against FICA.”

Clifford Jean, Real Hope Football Academy midfielder

Founded just a decade ago, Real Hope completed the group stage undefeated, winning five matches and drawing three. They managed to qualify despite being in the same group as league giants FICA and Association Sportive Capoise (ASC). Like Real Hope, several underdogs have pulled off unexpected victories over established teams this season, adding excitement to the playoff race.

Meanwhile, FICA, a seven-time champion, has been eliminated from postseason contention, finishing with a record of 1W-2D-4L. Under coach John Sévère’s leadership, the team has underperformed significantly this season, leading to fan dissatisfaction and calls for Sévère’s dismissal.

In other Group A action in the northern region, Racing Football Club des Gonaïves secured a 3-2 victory over Ouanaminthe Football Club 2011 at Parc Vincent in Gonaïves. Racing scored three goals in the first half, with contributions from Oscar Jean Maxon, Alcius Wuidens, and Jhon Eliavon. Ouanaminthe mounted a late comeback but fell short. Loubens Sinor and Roobens “Paloulou” Philogène scored in the closing minutes, with Philogène netting his first goal of the season.

With FICA out of the running, Ouanaminthe, Racing, and ASC are now vying for the remaining playoff spot in Group A.

In Group B, Cosmopolites Sportif Club achieved its first victory since March 30 by defeating Baltimore Sportif Club 1-0. Peterson Joseph Jr. scored the only goal in the 23rd minute at Parc Antoine Levelt in Saint-Marc. Despite the loss, Baltimore remains at the top of Group B with 12 points, but Cosmopolites has moved into second place with 11 points.

“After this game, we’re in a better mental state,” Cosmopolites’ head coach Rolph Edson Joseph told LPS Media+  post-match. “This victory was crucial for us, particularly for the players. Following our loss to Triomphe [on April 11, in week 7], the team met together and refocused.”

Tempête Football Club also claimed a 1-0 win over US Rivartibonitienne on Saturday, dashing US Rivartibonitienne’s playoff hopes.

In Group C, America des Cayes Football Club continued its impressive form by defeating Cavaly Association Sportive de Lèogâne 2-0, thanks to goals from Clerger Ernst and Feguens Clergé. America leads Group C, maintaining an undefeated streak with three wins and a draw.

Racing Club Haïtien and Juventus des Cayes Football Club played to a 0-0 draw at Parc Gérard Christophe in Léogâne, resulting in Juventus’ elimination from playoff contention. 

Racing CH will host America at Land des Gabions in Les Cayes on Wednesday to conclude the ninth round.



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