BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - It's not every day that a footballer gets a chance to play against a two-time World Cup-winning nation. And it's certainly not every day that it comes on one of football's most hallowed grounds and against one of the greatest players of all time.
Yet such was the chance afforded to Haiti MF Fabien Vorbe and his international teammates when they ventured to Buenos Aires last Wednesday for an international friendly at the famed Bombonera Stadium that ended in a 4-0 win for five-time FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi and the Albiceleste.
"It was truly a surreal experience," said Vorbe in an exclusive interview with CONCACAF.com.
"The atmosphere and the buzz all week surrounding the game being Argentina's farewell game before they head out to Russia was tremendous! It was without a doubt one of the best experiences of my entire career up to date," added Vorbe, who played 45 minutes in the defeat.
Vorbe's appreciation for football history made last Wednesday even more special and being able to do it while wearing the Haiti shirt is an experience he'll always cherish.
"Everything I am today, I owe it to Haiti. I always take great pride and defending its colors, but now to get to do it in such an event, at one of the most legendary stadiums in world football history made it all the more special. In my opinion, La Bombonera is one of the five greatest football sanctuaries, and I never thought I'd actually get a chance to play on that pitch," said Vorbe.
Outside of a penalty converted by Messi, Haiti went toe-to-toe with Argentina in the first 45 minutes before the hosts added another three scores in the second-half. Overall, Vorbe said there were positives to take away from the contest.
"We knew that we were going to suffer and not see a lot of the ball. We knew that we had to keep our lines compact, and be very disciplined, be ready to run a lot and continuously make extra efforts to help one another. I still think we overall did a respectable job and will learn so much from this game," said Vorbe.
The Argentina friendly also served as preparation for Haiti's CONCACAF Nations League campaign starting this fall in which they will face Sint Maarten (Sept. 10), Saint Lucia (Oct. 13), Nicaragua (Nov. 17) and then Cuba (Mar. 24).
Vorbe adds that he is appreciative of the opportunity that CONCACAF is providing not just to Haiti but for all the Caribbean nations with the advent of the CNL.
"I think that CONCACAF, with this tournament, is definitely providing a platform for all island players to shine and grow as footballers. This will be a great opportunity for all players involved to show their worth, playing meaningful international games, with the ultimate goal being the chance to feature in the biggest stage, the Gold Cup, against the top teams of the region. This is immense for the betterment of football in the Caribbean and in the CONCACAF region all together," concluded Vorbe.