Two of the worlds most powerful teams are warming up for the Confederations Cup with games against Haiti.
Spain beat them 2-1 on Sunday in Miami and the Haitians acquitted themselves well. Tonight they play Italy in Rio de Janeiro in a rematch of what was one of the most memorable World Cup games ever.
In 1974, Italy were among the favourites to win the World Cup and Haiti were playing in the tournament for the first and only time. Italy had gone two years without losing and famed goalkeeper Dino Zoff had not conceded a goal in 1142 minutes, then a world record.
Then Emmanuel Sanon came along and scored one of the greatest goals in the tournament’s history:
Twenty years later I lived in Haiti in 1994 and one of the highlights of the year was the World Cup.
When I arrived in Port-au-Prince in 1993 we got around six to eight hours of electricity a day, usually from around midnight to sunrise.
Then, at the start of 1994 the supply dried up. In some weeks we got just three hours, just enough to charge a car battery we used to power our laptops.
When the World Cup started we realised why. The military dictators had been rationing electricity in order to ensure there was enough during the World Cup. For a whole month we got 24 hours of electricity a day.
The reasoning was this: Haitians will put up with a coup and indescribable hardships. But they won’t put up with missing the World Cup.
Things have changed in Haiti and not always for the better. But one thing that hasn’t altered is reverence for the late Emannuel Sanon. Or memories of that amazing day in Germany.