After Danny Califf scored the tying goal four minutes into second-half stoppage time, giving the U.S. a 1-1 draw with Haiti last Saturday night, Haiti coach Fernando Clavijo was perturbed but resigned to the fact that so much time (five minutes) had been tacked on to the end of the game. "We have to be prepared to face adversity," said Clavijo, "and that includes the referee." Adversity is all his team has known for months. Clavijo, who played for the U.S. in the 1994 World Cup, took control of Haiti's program in October. Because he wanted the team to live and train together in the best possible facilities as they tried to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, he brought them to Miami. Things were rosy for a month or so. Then, as the government of Jean-Bertrand Ariste began to crumble, the money stopped coming from Haiti.
A Haitian airline was going to sponsor the team, but the political turmoil crippled its business. Clavijo, 48, began working gratis—he hasn't been paid in months—and paying bills himself. A local business has stepped in to provide three homes for the 32 players and staff members and some cash for them to send home, but Clavijo is still picking up expenses. When they're not practicing in public parks—they can't afford to rent a practice facility—Clavijo's players spend hours phoning home. Just before the team's Feb. 21 World Cup qualifying game against the Turks and Caicos Islands, Peter Germain learned his family's house had burned to the ground. Undaunted, Germain and his teammates won 2-0. In their next game, Saturday night's friendly, they comprehensively outplayed a U.S. team that's 11th in the world—83 spots ahead of Haiti.
A day earlier Clavijo had expressed concern that a win over the U.S. might draw attention from the dire situation his players and their families face. "A victory against the U.S. might send the wrong message," he said. " 'Oh, we are O.K., we don't need to do anything more than we have.' And that's not correct. It's not the truth." But judging from his smile after Alexander Boucicot's 69th-minute goal put Haiti up 1-0, Clavijo didn't look like a man who'd be too bothered by a win.