IThe volcano and bad air almost halted the start of German-Cuban Onel Hernandez in the dress of the Cuban national football team. Following the eruption of the Pachaya volcano south of Guatemala City, ash rains on Tuesday covered the international airport of the capital of Guatemalan. The soldiers tried to clear the runway with a broom and some machines. But flight operations could be started only on Wednesday. Hernández arrived in the Central American country shortly before the start of the World Cup qualifiers between Guatemala and Cuba on Wednesday evening – and initially sat on the bench – via Mexico City.
Hernández, who was trained in Germany and who has played at least U-18 international matches for the DFB, is one of four football players who play abroad regardless of Cuban federation, whom the World Cup The winner has been appointed to the national team which is due this week. So far, the path of the national team has been blocked for such players. Your first time enrollment is a small but important step that others can follow.
In addition to Hernández, Atletico Madrid-trained defender Carlos Vezquez, currently playing in Segunda División, Spain, Joel Apteguya, who is active in San Marino, and Bastian Schwensteiger’s former teammate at the Joust Luis Corrist at Chicago Fire . has been appointed. While Corrales played for the Cuban national team sometime between 2011 and 2015, the other three are here for the first time. They all have one thing in common – and this is important for Cuban Association officials: They either left the island with their parents as children or received permission from the government to go abroad. For example, Corales was allowed to visit his father in Miami after the 2015 Gold Cup, North and Central American Championships. With a five-year US visa in his pocket, he decided to stay.
On the other hand, 28-year-old Hernández came to Ritberg at the age of six with his mother in the northeastern corner of North Rhine-Westphalia. His stepfather, the coach of TuS Westfalia Neuenkirchen, said that football would help the boy with integration. Via FC Gütersloh and Rot Weiss Ahlen, he landed at Arminia Bielefeld, where he played in the second division for the first time. Along with Eintracht Braunschweig, Hernández was on the verge of promotion in the Bundesliga – but VfL failed to charge at Wolfsburg. Daniel Farc brought him to Norwich City in January 2018. Last season, he was the first Cuban to play in the Premier League.
Hernández was already nominated for his first international match in November 2018 by Cuba’s then national coach Raoul Mederos, but was again removed on short notice. According to his advisor, the invitation was withdrawn “on the instruction of the state”. Coach Mederos only spoke of “high forces”.
Debikal caused reconsideration in the Gold Cup
After two and a half years, the time has finally come. The Cuban Football Association (AFC) gave the green light for the appointment. “An essential step for a better national football team” was the title of the party newspaper “Granma”. Fans have been asking for this for a long time. Especially since the game defeat in the Gold Cup in the summer of 2019, when it clapped 7–0 against Mexico and Canada. According to the decision of the local press at the time, Cuban football is at a “low point in its history”.
This may have contributed to the reconsideration of Cuba’s union superiors. An official statement for sudden openness to players outside the national game system was not available. However, the AFC said that those who participated in competitions abroad would still not be considered for a return to the national team. The opening does not go away after all.
Despite everything, it is a notable decision. This happens because the Cuban government is trying to re-read its relations with the diaspora. For example, Cuba’s deportation has expanded investment opportunities in the Cuban economy. And after football players, baseball players could follow. A few days ago, the Baseball Federation said it was considering calling Cuban players abroad who are currently unrelated to the island’s playing system. It would also have a bigger impact than the nomination of footballers.
Onel Hernández celebrated his national team debut early in the second half. He had not yet trained with his teammates. But she could not convert the 1-0 defeat as well. There should be 90 minutes for him against Curacao on Sunday. Hopefully the cooked volcano will not interfere again.
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