Thursday, January 24, 2008

Island swapping

Although it must be frustrating most of the time to be a Canadian national teamer, there are times where things are pretty darn OK. Take today for instance. The team, training in Florida, had their Caribbean vacation plans cancelled as the St. Lucia friendly fell through. But instead of heading home to more northern climes in Europe or North America, the boys will simply be hopping to a different island paradise.

From the CSA:

Canada to face Martinique on 30 January

Canada's men's national team announced today that it will face Martinique in an international friendly match on 30 January at the Stade Louis-Achille in Fort-de-France, Martinique. The match was set after Canada learned its 2 February friendly with St. Lucia was cancelled.

Canada's men's national team is currently holding its first training camp of the 2008 season in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The team will fly to Fort-de-France on Monday before playing Martinique at 20.00 on Wednesday night.

The 30 January match will be the third meeting between the two senior men's teams. Canada won 2:1 on penalty kicks over Martinique at the 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup and drew 1:1 with Martinique at the 1993 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Canada's head coach Dale Mitchell is currently assessing talent for the upcoming run to the FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010. While CONCACAF’s first phase of 2010 World Cup Qualification begins in February, Canada will wait until the second phase to play their first game on 15 June in Saint Vincent & the Grenadines.

Of note, the match moves up from Saturday to Wednesday, and the opponent is Martinique.

Martinique, you ask? You can't find them in the FIFA rankings? That's because these French colonial leftovers aren't really a country, and as such aren't considered official. So that takes us off the hook if Canada shits the bed, at least rankings-wise.

As we see it, there are two main advantages to playing Martinique over St. Lucia:
  1. They don't suck royally. St. Lucia are 181st in FIFA's rankings. Martinique aren't ranked by FIFA, but the bitchingly awesome ELO ratings have them pegged at 110. (Canada ranks 55th by this system, just one place off from their FIFA standing). Martinique should provide Canada a stiffer test than their Caribbean brethren.
  2. There's some history. Martinique has played Canada twice, and played tough both times. As the article mentions above, Canada faced Martinique twice in the Gold Cup (1993, 2002), and both ended in draws (well, the 2002 team lost to Canada in PKs, but who's counting?!) With the ragtag squad Canada has together for this match, the game will likely be a close one. And that ragtag bunch just got ragtaggier (see below)
So we'll be glued to our computer screens this coming Wednesday, searching for whichever third world website will give us news about this match. Surely one of the Voyageurs will find something.

From the if-it-sounds-too-good-to-be-true-then-it-probably-is department, news that is not nearly as awesome. Rob Friend, suspended for the first 2. Bundesliga match of the season, has decided to stay in Germany anyway (well, he's in Spain right now, so I don't blame him) instead of cross the pond to play a minnow. Instead of stretching this aquatic metaphor any further, we'll give you the straight dope, auf Deutsch:
Friend bleibt in Gladbach

Zwei Länderspiele stehen für die kanadische Nationalmannschaft Anfang Februar auf dem Programm. Rob Friend, der eigentlich nominiert war, bleibt aber in Mönchengladbach, um Borussia zur Verfügung zu stehen.

Am 2. und 6. Februar haben die Kanadier, die derzeit in einem Trainingslager in Florida sind, Testspiele in St. Lucia und in Guatemala. Gestern telefonierte Rob Friend mit dem kanadischen Nationaltrainer Dale Mitchell, und bat ihn, auf seine Dienste zu verzichten. "Ich habe ihm die Situation hier bei Borussia erklärt. Ich bin zwar im ersten Spiel gegen Kaiserslautern gesperrt, möchte aber trotzdem lieber in Gladbach bleiben, um mich gut auf die danach kommenden Spiele vorbereiten zu können", so Rob.

Beim nächsten Länderspiel werden die Kanadier aber nicht mehr auf Borussias Torjäger verzichten. Diese Partie findet aber in Europa statt, am 26. März in Estland, und das an einem Termin, an dem in der 2. Liga ohnehin Länderspielpause ist.
Don't bother thinking too hard on this. The Friendly Giant is staying in Moenchengladbach to support the team, etc. He talked to Mitch and explained that he wants to be ready for the following match, after his suspension. Also says he'll have no excuse to miss the next one for Canada, because it's in Europe. The article predates the St. Lucia announcement, so that's nothing to get excited about. What is interesting is that the article suggests Friend would be missing two internationals, the second against Guatemala on February 6th. This a rumour that has popped up elsewhere, but we've yet to hear anything to confirm it. To be honest, it's a little frightening to imagine Tyler, Dejan, Paris and the boys playing a half-decent, urine-flinging side like the Guats.

Speaking of which, a lot of you seem to want to more about Dejan Jakovic. We do too. For now all we know is that more visitors are drawn to this site by his name than any other keyword. We can offer you an update on Paris Nakajima-Farran, another popular search string. He's listed in the last post as a defender (thanks, CSA), but his club has him listed as 'Midtbane'. Not being experts in Danish, we'll leave you to decide that one for yourselves.

(Most esoteric search string: some dude from India searching for 'videos of doing poty'. Try the search yourself. This blog is the 7th result. Perhaps he was thinking of peyote).

Later that day . . . We are loath to make a new post just for one snippet of news, in Danish. Here it is. Andrew Ornoch, who has one cap for Canada (an emergency callup for the Hungary friendly a few years ago, basically because he happened to play in town) has signed with Esbjerg fB in Denmark.
The strange part of the article is the last paragraph, which mentions Vancouver Whitecaps defender and Martinique friendly callup Adrian Cann:
Canadieren har under opholdet i Esbjerg, hvor han har haft selskab af forsvarsspilleren Adrian Cann, allerede markeret sig som et åbent, udadvendt og ydmygt menneske, der er taknemlig for at få lov til at forsøge at bruge EfB som springbræt til en større europæisk klub.
A little help?

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