AROUND THE NET, US SOCCER NEWS — October 4, 2012 at 11:31 pm

Honduras has belief heading into WCQs

Photo /Text CONCACAF
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — With sights firmly set on the two crucial upcoming World Cup qualifiers in the hunt to make it to Brazil 2014, head coach Luis Suarez and the Honduran Football Federation are urging their fans to remain patient and positive through the hard fight to win a spot in CONCACAF’s hexagonal.In an op-ed on the Federation’s website, Honduran national team media relations chief Edwin Banegas cited what he describes as a “phantom of skepticism and pessimism” that has stalked the team over the last few months.The Honduran spokesman argues that the semifinal round of CONCACAF qualifying — in which the Catrachos were eliminated on the road to the 2006 World Cup — has always been complicated, and that this year is no different, given the stellar play and tough competition faced in Group C.Through four rounds, Panama leads the group on nine points, two ahead of Canada and Honduras.  Cuba sits in last place with no points from four matches.For his part, Suarez, who understands perfectly the ups and downs of qualifying after leading Ecuador to a World Cup berth in 2006, says that now is the time to maintain faith in the process and players, with just two games to play in the semifinal round.

“I’m always moving forward, looking at the positive,” the coach said at a press conference last week.  “I am entirely confident that things will go well for us.  I’d ask Hondurans to believe in their players.”

There are plenty of reasons to believe.  Honduras leads Canada on goal differential, and while the Catrachos can’t clinch a hexagonal berth on the fifth match day, they also know that no matter the results of the fifth round, qualifying will still be in their hands when the Canadians visit San Pedro Sula to close out the semifinal round on October 16.

Nevertheless, the tight group and an opening round loss to Panama at home have proved too much for many fans of La Hache to stomach, according to the Federation and the coach.

“Even if there are people who don’t believe, but more than that, who don’t want to see the national team succeed, it’s my obligation to believe and make the players, who fight for this dream of the whole country, believe as well,” said Suarez.  “Let’s not talk any more about negativity, let’s close that theme and put the needs of the country ahead of personal interests.”

Any result for the Catrachos in the visit to Panama would mark a big step towards the hexagonal.  Still, everything will be on the line four days later when the Canadians visit Central America for an afternoon tilt in San Pedro Sula which promises to prove decisive for at least two of the nations still in competition in Group 3.


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