Cuban soccer players defecting?

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:53 PM ET

VANCOUVER - Two members of the Cuban women's soccer team have gone missing in Vancouver, according to reports by Rogers Sportsnet.

In town for the 2012 CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament, the two players -- forward Yezenia Gallardo Martinez and midfielder Yisel Rodriguez Llanes -- are assumed to have defected to the United States, the reports said.

The pair was last seen Saturday night. When Cuba faced Haiti in their final group game Monday, both players were marked absent on the lineup sheet.

"We can confirm that we've seen reports about the Cuban players," a CONCACAF spokesperson said. "However, it is now a matter for the Cuban delegation and we will not be commenting further."

The head of the Cuban delegation, Jesus Pereira, refused to speak to media following Cuba's 3-0 loss to Haiti on Monday. The Cuban team, meanwhile, walked directly from their locker room to the team bus without speaking to the press.

Gallardo Martinez led the Cubans in scoring during Caribbean qualifying with five goals.

Cuba lost all three of its games in Vancouver, dropping a 2-0 result to Costa Rica Thursday and falling 2-0 to Canada Saturday.

It marks the first time the Cuban women's team has advanced to the final round of Olympic qualifying.

Citing privacy laws, U.S. Customs and Border officials would not confirm or deny the players had crossed into the United States through the Peace Arch border south of Vancouver, while U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it wasn't involved in the asylum process unless there is a criminal element.


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