By Shaun Fuentes
Former LA Galaxy forward Cornell Glen has joined Trinidad professional club Caledonia AIA and will be looking to make his first start for the club when they take on Tempete FC of Haiti in their return leg Caribbean Football Union Club Championship on Sunday.
Caledonia AIA arrived in Port –au-Prince on Thursday not only in search of victory but also hoping to touch a piece of history and offer their helpings to the less fortunate on the poverty-stricken country.
This is the intention of the club according to head coach Jamaal Shabazz as his team aims to overturn the 1-0 defeat suffered last Friday with a place in the Championship semi-finals at stake en route to the CONCACAF Champions League.
“It’s a huge challenge for sure but we have become accustomed to situations like these where our backs are up against the wall. But for us going to Haiti means more than just going to win or lose a football match Even though we are going for a victory, it’s more about the historical significance where people of our community Morvant/Laventille can go to a country which has shown the ability to rise above tragedies. To me that is the real essence of this trip,” Shabazz said.
“We took care of their expenses in Trinidad and they are also supposed to return the favour. Even in war, I have been taught that you have to eat the food they have prepared. We are confident that the Caribbean spirit that exists between the teams will not be lost here.”
Caledonia will spend an extra day in Haiti and intends to offer some football supplies to those in need.
“We will take some of the excess gears we have and pass it on to the brothers there and try to get a first-hand look at the country. We are also teaming up with a group that Angus Eve is associated with that provides support to the people in Haiti,” said Shabazz.
Caledonia is based in the Morvant/Laventille area in the North of Trinidad and is largely considered as a ghetto community on the island.
“Where we come from in Morvant/Laventille is in many ways similar to Haiti but we are trying our best to lift the standard of living and show the people, especially the youths, that there is a positive way out from crime and poverty. And if we can achieve this through football then we would have accomplished one of our goals as a club,” Shabazz said.
Glen meantime, who has played for the likes of Columbus Crew and San Jose Earthquakes, is hoping to find his scoring touch again after being sidelined by injury for the last six months.
“It’s a crucial match for us and I’m definitely to play a part in helping the team advance in the tournament. It would be a great feeling to see a club like Caledonia advance to the Concacaf Champions League and compete on the same stage with teams from the MLS, Mexico and other top teams in the region,” Glen added.