Cibao FC's Charles Herold Jr. (pictured) in Caribbean Club Championship action against Grenades FC on May 16, 2017, in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago. (Photo: CA-Images)
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago – If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.
That sports-related saying came to life at Hasely Crawford Stadium on Thursday night, when the Dominican Republic’s Cibao FC earned a 1-0 victory over two-time defending champion Central FC to seal a place in the 2017 Caribbean Club Championship final Sunday against San Juan Jabloteh.
The winner of the decider qualifies for the 2018 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League.
“This was a very important victory for us,” winger Charles Herold Jr. said after the game. “We had to work very hard because Central are a very good team and they are the defending champions. We had to bring our best game because we knew it would be a close game as it turned out. We had to defend well and, of course, we didn't let panic step in and it was a great feeling to hold on until the final whistle.”
Cibao, which competes in the Liga Dominicana de Fútbol, was founded in 2015; a fact that makes its current success even more impressive.
“Cibao is a new club and it is a great achievement for us to come here and go all the way to the final,” expressed Herold, a 26-year-old Haiti international. “It will a major accomplishment for us to win the title and qualify for the Champions League.”
Even with a loss to San Juan Jabloteh, Cibao – at the least -- has already clinched a spot in the 2017 Scotiabank CONCACAF League. Additional international competition will be a big boost to football in the Dominican Republic.
Herold concurred, finishing: “This will be a very big honor for football in the Dominican Republic if we can win the championship after just two years existing as a club and also moving into a big competition such as the CONCACAF Champions League.