Haiti's men's national team played the second and last warm-up match of its Trinidad training camp, as it continues its work toward the forthcoming 2017 Caribbean Cup fifth-place playoff games. Those games - against Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago - will determine which Caribbean side gets to put a disappointing 2016 behind it and look forward to a 2017 playoff (against the fifth-placed team in the 2017 Copa Centroamericana) for a place in this summer's Gold Cup.
So far, not one of the teams involved in the January playoff matches can claim to be ideally prepared. Suriname has opted to stay home until pretty much the last possible moment, jetting into Trinidad on the eve of its first game (against T&T on January 4) with a squad missing a couple of stalwart players (most notably, forward Stefano Rijssel). The home team, Trinidad and Tobago, is having a turbulent training camp: newly-appointed head coach Tom Saintfiet is dropping players from his roster at an alarming rate as he seeks to introduce himself and his methods to the Soca Warriors.
Haiti has been training in Trinidad for about a week, but still hasn't assembled the full 20-man group that was called up for these games. And former New York Red Bull Andrew Jean-Baptiste has been added to the roster somewhere along the way.
Jean-Baptiste played the second half of Haiti's warm-up game against TT Pro League side Defence Force on January 2. Current RBNY player, Derrick Etienne, played the full 90 - per the Haitian Football Federation's Facebook page. The match finished 2-2: the same result Haiti got from its previous friendly, against W Connection. In that game, Les Grenadiers let a 2-1 lead slip and had to settle for the draw. Against Defence Force, the FHF report states the local club opened up a two-goal advantage, before Haiti battled back to square the match.
Derrick Etienne opened the scoring for the resurgent Grenadiers in the 55th minute. The RBNY man scored against W Connection also, and would therefore appear to be enjoying his role in what seems to be head coach Jean Claude Josaphat's preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.
Haiti's first game of the Caribbean Cup fifth-place playoffs is against Suriname on January 6. The team is expecting a few more players to arrive between then and now, but Etienne has surely made a strong case for inclusion in Josaphat's plans for the competitive matches ahead.