MIAMI, Florida – Arcahaie became just the fourth club from Haiti to qualify for the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League when they defeated Forge FC of Canada 4-2 in a penalty shootout last Tuesday in the quarterfinals of the 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf League.
Reaching Concacaf’s grandest stage at the club level is an achievement that will forever live in Arcahaie lore and is still being enjoyed by players and fans alike.
“It’s been a special moment to qualify for the Champions League. Arcahaie is a great club. Fans are proud and we have to keep going and now try qualify for the Concacaf League final,” said Arcahaie FW Kervens Jolicoeur in an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com.
It was Jolicoeur’s goal that made Arcahaie’s SCCL qualification even possible. With his side trailing 1-0 early in the second half against Forge, Jolicoeur noticed that Forge GK Triston Henry was keeping the ball at his feet for a long time and used the moment to apply pressure. The result was Jolicoeur dispossessing Henry and sweeping a shot into an empty net for the equalizer.
“It is the way I play. When the goalkeeper or the defender has the ball, I have to pressure them. When I saw the goalkeeper receive the pass, he took a lot of time to kick the ball and I just had the motivation to pressure him, get the ball and score,” said Jolicoeur.
One of the other heroes on the night for Arcahaie was GK Guerry Romondt. The veteran shot-stopper saved the first two penalty attempts from Forge, paving the way for Arcahaie’s shootout victory.
Yet coming through in a Concacaf shootout is nothing new for Romondt, who in 2011 helped Tempete FC qualify for the 2011/12 SCCL by defeating Trinidad and Tobago sides Caledonia AIA and Defence Force in shootouts in the 2011 CFU Club Championship. The penalty-saving approach he used back then is the same one that he deploys today.
“I have a lot of experience with penalties. With Tempete I qualified against Caledonia AIA and Defence Force in the same way. It is not a secret. I just make a move to my left and then I go to my right. The player sees that I am going to go to my left, so then he shoots to the right and I go to the right. It is not a secret; it is just a movement,” said Romondt in the interview with Concacaf.com.
Next up for Arcahaie is a semifinal date with defending SCL champions Deportivo Saprissa of Costa Rica. After punching their SCCL ticket, Arcahaie now have their sights set on lifting reaching the SCL Final.
“We are focused on the semifinal against Saprissa. We want to keep pushing and we want to qualify for the Final. The team is very motivated, we have good players and we hope things go well against Saprissa. The team can still grow more. It is a big tournament. We have to play against good teams and now we have a good team in Saprissa. They are the defending champions, so they are a great team,” said Romondt.
At the end of the day though, for Arcahaie, it all comes down to bringing joy to their fans back home in Haiti.
“We play for our fans. In Haiti we don’t have a lot of money, we don’t have players from Europe or Central America, so the first thing we play for is our fans. We want them to be happy and we have to keep pushing the same way and give them happiness because they need that. We have to play better for our fans because they are the number one supporter. We will play for them against Saprissa,” concluded Romondt.