CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – It has been quite an interesting past year for Martinique players DF Yordan Thimon, MF Christophe Jougon, MF Stephane Abaul, MF Yann Thimon and FW Johnny Marajo.
Not only are they participating in the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup, but they also formed part of the Club Franciscain team that qualified for the 2018 Scotiabank Concacaf League after winning the 2018 Caribbean Club Shield and the one game playoff with Central FC of Trinidad and Tobago.
Prior to Martinique’s training session on Friday ahead of its match versus Mexico, Concacaf.com caught up with Martinique’s Club Franciscain contingent to talk about their unique experience of playing in two of the Confederation’s top tournaments.
“There is a lot of value competing in the Concacaf League, there is a lot of value participating in the Gold Cup,” said Yann Thimon. “It’s really a reward for the hard work this season.”
For Yordan Thimon, Club Franciscain’s SCL qualification and Martinique’s second straight Gold Cup shows the growth of Martinique football.
“It’s not just by chance. Having five players from Club Franciscain on the Martinique national team is a sign of the value of this club, so it’s a good reward for us,” said Thimon.
For Jougon, playing in these tournaments offers a great chance to grow as a player.
“When you play in the Martinique league, even though it is amateur, you still have to raise your level, but when you get to the Gold Cup you mostly play against professional teams so you have to raise your game. For us in Martinique, the Gold Cup is a holy grail. You have to play teams like Mexico, a star-studded team so you better show up with your A-game,” said Jougon.
Not only do the players feel like they represent Martinique, but also the entire Caribbean.
“Being from the islands, being with Club Franciscain and entering a high club competition is a big reward. Then you show up to the Gold Cup and it’s the highest national team competition and it’s a great reward, so we show up and we represent all of the Caribbean nations,” said Marajo.
Overall, playing the SCL and the Gold Cup will help all Martinique advance as a footballing nation.
“We are amateurs playing in an amateur level league and in SCL you play aginst some more established players or established teams. You show up at the Gold Cup and there’s a massive difference in level. It’s a big step up and can only help us pull forward,” said Abaul.