AJOSHA INterview with Gaspard Dalexis

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Gaspard Dalexis : “Le football féminin haïtien devrait-être à la 4e place de la Concacaf” (Haitian Women's football should be the 4th place CONCACAF")

The following interview was conducted by Enock Nere and posted on the AJOSHA website June 10th, 2010.  Presented here is a translation from the original article that was written in French.  The entire article in French can be found here:   http://www.ajoshanews.org/2010/06/gaspard-dalexis-le-football-feminin.html 

Having led the Haitian women's football team to the Gold Cup and the final phase of Central America and Caribbean Games, Gaspard D'Alexis reflects back on his training and the players who impressed him, but mostly on setting legitimate aspirations to feed his team.


Gaspard D'Alexis, you managed to lead the Haitian women's team to qualifications for the finals of the Gold Cup in a difficult environment.  Based on the fact that you live far from the Haitian women's football team, tell us about your integration into the team?

I have coached women's teams since the age of sixteen, which makes me an expert on women's football.  Jean Bart, who knows me, contacted me after the earthquake of 12 January asking me to make some sort of contribution to restore hope.  I was born in Haiti, even though I live outside of Haiti, the desire to help - to do something for my country still lives in me.  In Haiti, one child may not find food, but if given a balloon, the child will play with it, therefore I knew there was a way for me to help, by coming here.  I felt that the team consisted of talented players who needed some organization...a new voice, that's how I joined the team.


"Technique must be used to progress the game.”  What are your first impressions of the Haitian players in general?

They acted as professional players.  They practice every day and most of them dream only of football, which differs from the United States where the players have other distractions such as television, cars, programs, etc. ...  Haitian Players also have talent, they are now channeling that talent to lead them down the path to success (they seem to ignore that path) and especially to help them overcome their fear.  For example, they play against Cuba and remain focused on the fact that Cuba had never been beaten before.  They lacked a history of victory on which to proceed.  Add to that a lack of technical discipline, for example, the players were making technical moves without purpose, not knowing why.  They were performing just for the gallery.  So the players had talent, but they were not using that talent in a capacity to advance the team.  Players poorly exploited their talent.  These actions were useless, the talent is better exploited now that the game is finally rid of its waste.  Action must take place within the goal of achieving a goal.  That's what I brought.


What is the player who impresses you the most?

The group in general, not any particular player.  Note, we received nine goals and there were eight players who participated in the implementation of the 9 goals.  We had two defenders score.  We had midfielders and we had strikers.  For example, we have a defensive back who has carried out six assists.  The girls have learned that it is not one person in particular who will make a difference but the whole team.  In that sense, I will simply say they have relearned that "unity is strength."  Also, I do not focus on a specific person because the whole team impressed me.


Okay but there are always special talents in a team.  It was Platini or Zidane in France, Argentina Maradona, Pele, Romario, Ronaldo in Brazil ... would that be your selection?

At its first World Cup, Diego Maradona missed.  A player impresses when it contributes to a record.  Playing and winning against Cuba, Puerto Rico, Antigua does not provide a record so impressive that one would focus on the production of a particular player.  We'll talk when we can make the difference against a selection such as Canada or Mexico or the United States.  However, there are about a half-dozen players who have an extraordinary talent without minimizing the ability of others.  Of the eleven, there are those who stand out, but they will have to find the opportunity and they now know they have to set a goal and make the difference when the opportunity arises.  For example, one of the defenders could have finished top scorer in the competition if she capitalized on the opportunities offered to her, unfortunately she failed to exploit her opportunities.  It is these aspects that we need to consider.


You feel the talent of Haitian players logically should be placed higher than Cuba, Antigua and Puerto Rico.  In your opinion what should be their rank?

We must not put the cart before the horse, but normally in this area, grading into women's football should be: USA, Canada, Mexico and Haiti.  Not lower than that.  Haiti should have to play in the big leagues, fighting for their place in the final phase of the World Cup and  qualify even if they must fight against veteran trained teams.  For now, we must focus on what is before us.  We have just qualified for the finals of the Gold Cup and we will play against countries like Trinidad, Jamaica, Mexico, Canada, etc ... The question is whether we are going to compete at this competition under the best conditions and especially to show the world that we did not steal our place.  The key is to prepare our team for the opponent that we face, to show that we give a damn and to play our best football. These are the objectives set before us.


Knowing the Haitian women's football, I was a little surprised that you had not yet used one of Haiti's best strikers.  And amazingly, you played her at the last meeting and she scored.  Her name is Adeline St. Ilmont.  Why has she not been used before?

During our second game she was not even part of the 18, this may surprise you, but it's in my nature.  I do not care about names, but what the player is able to demonstrate.  It is true that Adeline St. Ilmont seems to be a good player but we need perspective.  When we showed good in a lower category, this does not mean anything, we need to show what we can do in difficult situations.  There are players who are very strong locally but once you level up a bit, they are not worth much, while for others the reverse occurs.  They perform better as the challenge is greater.  When Adeline St. Ilmont has scored against Canada, against the United States, Mexico and consistently to help lead her team to victory against these big guns, then we'll talk.  For now, Adeline is just a very good player who will have to earn her place.  Indeed, Haiti is more than 19 players and I think every player has to earn their place.


What is the program?

Find a training ground for playing the Central America and the Caribbean Games, but also find a more interesting challenge.  I like to cross swords with the team while training, when we are down five or six goals to nil to see what would be the reaction of the girls when they are struggling.  In victory, it's easy; but it is especially in defeat that reveals the character of players.  These girls know they are now able to score at any time against any formation.  However, knowing and being in the situation is different.  I expect and hope to find tough matches at the Games next July.


When we go to press, the Women's National team will be on a forced vacation for nearly a month.  Some of the players had some sessions with their respective clubs.  As competition arrives in less than forty days, others are more concerned with finding a way to track the World Cup at South Africa than to train for Games in Central America and the Caribbean "

 Interview by

 Enock Nere



 Posted by AJOSHA at 9:19 AM