Cuban Players Ditch US Hotel, May Plan to Defect

Cuba's soccer prez denies the 2 men ever left for United States
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2008 2:52 PM CDT
Cuba's Pedro Adriani Faife (17) controls the ball during second half soccer in a CONCACAF Gold Cup match Sunday, June 10, 2007 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.   (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
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(Newser) – Two Cuban soccer players fled a US hotel in Virginia yesterday and may plan to defect, the Washington Post reports. Pedro Faife, 24, and Reynier Alcantara, 26, are slated to play in a World Cup qualifier tonight and have not turned themselves in to Customs—but Cuba's coach doesn't expect to see them again. "It is always a problem for the Cuba team," he said.

"We have security," he added, "but you can't handcuff them to their rooms." Cuba's national soccer president said the players never left Cuba, although that leaves the 18-man squad two players short. Twelve soccer players have defected from Cuba over the past 6 years; earlier this year, seven of them switched sides while qualifying for the Olympics in Tampa, Fla.