Haitian football federation president Yves, Jean Bart says the country already feels fulfilled for earning the right to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Haiti which had never qualified for any FIFA organized competition in any category had surprised even themselves to finish third at the 2018 CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship to qualify for the France 2018 Women’s World Cup.
The significance of the achievement is not lost on the Football Federation boss who says it is a victory for not only Haiti but for women’s emancipation.
The small island country had however been introduced into the competition in the worst possible start for a debutant in a competition when they were thrashed 2-1 by a rampant Chinese team in their opening Group D game on Monday , but rather than the loss serving as a dampener, Jean- Bart says it would serve as a motivator.
“This qualification would not have been possible without the FIFA Forward Programme,” he says
As far as he is concerned, the island nation have not only made their maiden appearance at a Women’s World Cup in any category, but they have also made history, as the first Caribbean team to qualify for such a tournament – a feat with implications way beyond those of just football.
“This qualification means a lot to Haiti,”
“We’ve gained credibility and respect. In a nation that is socially resistant to change, this victory for women’s football is an important step forward. These girls have made the country proud, which helps the emancipation of women here and their personal fulfilment.”
Of course, there was nothing fortuitous about Haiti’s qualification for France 2018. Marc Collat’s team are brimming with talent, as reflected in their midfield strategist Nerilia Mondesir.
Collectively, they produced some very fine performances at the qualifying tournament in January, especially in prevailing 1-0 against Canada – a powerhouse of the women’s game – in the match for third place.
It should be said, however, that their qualifying feat was the culmination of a lengthy process and a lot of hard work, as well as the assistance provided by the FIFA Forward programme.