Cosmos in Cuba: Senna out, field concerns, more


HAVANA, Cuba — The excitement in Cuba is palpable for their National Team’s historic Gold Cup warm-up match against the New York Cosmos.

Unfortunately for some, however, a major Cosmos team star will not be on the field Tuesday afternoon.

Marcos Senna, 38, will sit out the match as he continues to nurse injuries carried over from the Spring Championship season.

“We had a difficult week. We played seven matches in eight days. We do have some injuries. Marcos Senna is one of them,” head coach Giovanni Savarese told a throng of reporters at the Melia Cohiba Hotel. “He will not be able to play tomorrow.”

Senna is not the only player carrying injuries into the match. However, the Cosmos will field a mostly-first team side against Cuba, where a capacity audience is expected to fill Estadio Pedro Marrero Tuesday afternoon.

“There are also one or two players as well, but the majority of the players will be able to play — including Raul,” Savarese said.


The Cosmos held an open practice for media members at Pedro Marrero, where long grass and a patchy field slowed the pace of their training.

Pedro Marrero, a government run stadium, is under ill repair. Matches at the stadium are traditionally held free of charge, leaving no income for any sort of capital improvements. From dangling shingles from the makeshift roof to the unforgiving cement seating, Marrero presents a difficult atmosphere for both the Cosmos and the Cuban National Team.

However, Savarese assures that those conditions will not influence the team’s play.

“We found the field to be much better than we expected,” he said. “We had a good training session [Monday]. We know that they will make some changes for tomorrow in order to cut the grass and do some other things but we are pleased to play on this surface.”


  • NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson flew out to Cuba Monday morning and spoke about the unique opportunities presented with this Cuban trip. “The best way to start any relationship is with a match and tomorrow’s match will be significant and historical,” he said, adding that the Cuban Federation and the NASL were looking at the long term in “exploring players in NASL, coaching, sharing amongst coaches between Cuba and our league, player development, officiating. Everything could be on the table and we will take it one step at a time.”
  • Questions over the scandals ripping FIFA apart were muted during the press conference, with guest MC Fernando Fiore insisting inquiries be about “the game on the field, not the game in suits.”
  • El Estadio Marrero was overrun with fans at the gates of the facility looking to catch a glimpse of their favorite players — and pick up tickets to the match. Unlike other events at the stadium, this match was issued a cover charge of dos pesos — or roughly, five cents American — for entry.
  • John

    Cosmos should feel right at home in Cuba since the stadium is empty much like at Hofstra.

  • Larry’s A Simpleton

    So the Nassau County Globetrotters can’t even draw a crowd to a stadium where all tickets are free? Sounds about right.

  • Kevin

    I love the fact that the other day youre telling Cosmos fans to go back to their forum. Yet here you are being one of the first on the Cosmos side again making comments. Funny. You just cant get enough. Whats the excuse of why they are winning 4-0. Give me your reason. Youŕe pathetic. You make fun of everything Cosmos, tell fans to go back to their Cosmos forum yet you’cant get enough. Hee haw!!!

  • Tommi

    Lol,nice try haters, plenty of fans at the match :

    An entertaining game and 4-1 Cosmos win!!!

  • Larry’s A Simpleton

    How many donkey boys made it down to havana? hee haw
    maybe the nassau county globetrotters should relocate there since nobody in ny cares. the donkey boys can hold a rally in havana for a new stadium.

    • dr. freud

      You really are obsessed with the Cosmos. You need help. This kind of passionate hate can only mean one of the following:

      1) You are full of self loathing
      2) You secretly love the Cosmos
      3) You have no other hobbies or interests

      Please seek help before it is too late

    • Kevin

      U obviously care..first one to comment basically

  • Kevin

    Or your team just sucks

    • dr. freud

      Of course I care. I am a doctor and this poor man needs help.

      I can’t help that his team sucks though. That NYCFC has one win is beyond anyone’s help.

      • Tommi

        18000 attended the historic Cosmos vs Cuba match.