Canada is famous for its hockey and its citizens’ affinity for winter sports. However, you will probably be surprised if someone told you that football is actually the most played sport in the North American country with almost 3 million people playing it at the moment.
But if so many people are playing the sport how come the Canadian national team has only appeared at one World Cup (in Mexico 1986, when they lost all their matches and didn’t manage to score a single goal) and its highest FIFA ranking position has only been as high as the 40th place.
Canadian football fans know by now that getting angry at their nations’ poor results won’t do them any good, and that’s why after every disappointing performance, they visit some of the best Canadian online casinos featured on this site, and try not to think of the reasons for the constant underperformance and instead try to relax and win some money. But why are Canadians so bad at football?
Lack of football culture
When the Brazilian national team underperformed in the last World Cup, which was played in their homeland, the whole nation was up in arms and basically kicked their manager out of the team and put all of their players to shame.
Interestingly though, their anger was aimed at a Brazil team which reached no less than the semi-final stage of the tournament, and lost to the eventual champions of the world – Germany (rather embarrassingly to be honest).
However, Brazil is a nation which has football in its blood and anything less than winning the World Cup every four years is considered a major disappointment, so their reaction to the disappointing loss was expected and completely justified.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with Canada. In the North American country, the most heavily followed sport is hockey. In fact, whenever their hockey team fails to perform to its expected levels, coaches’ heads usually roll and players are called out to explain their poor performances.
When the Canadian football team loses however, no one seems to be bothered. Everyone goes on with their daily lives, and the news rarely gets any attention. This has ensured that complacency has set in, and the Canadian Soccer Association, the Canadian national team, the coaches and everyone else involved in the sport don’t think that they will ever be held responsible for their failure to produce satisfactory results.
No domestic league
Canadian football teams participate in five divisions, none of which is purely Canadian. The top two divisions on North American soil are the MLS (Division 1) and the NASL (Division 2). In the MLS there are three Canadian teams (Montreal Impact, Toronto FC, and Vancouver Whitecaps FC) and in the NASL there are two teams competing (FC Edmonton and Ottawa Fury FC).
Many people think that these five teams, which are mainly consisted of American and foreign players, aren’t enough for a country as large as Canada. They argue that if there was a domestic championship consisting of players who are home-grown, Canada’s quality of football would greatly improve and their country would have better chances of more regular appearances at World Cups.
Lack of minutes for Canadian players
Canadian players rarely get a chance to impress at their clubs. They are part of high profile MLS clubs, but as we have already mentioned, clubs like Montreal and Toronto are mostly made up of foreign players, and out of the five or six Canadian players in their rosters, only one or two play regularly.
Poor youth development programs
The Canadian Soccer Federation hasn’t managed to create a unified youth development program for years now, and has left the different Canadian provinces and regions to create their own development systems.
This has led to a series of disjointed youth development decisions being made by different parties, with no clear direction for going forward. Expectedly, the biggest losers from this situation are the talented youngsters who are expected to carry the national team on their shoulders in the future, but aren’t provided with a stable and continued football education during the most crucial stage of their development.
Canadian players lack the skills to succeed
Young players in Canada always have been (and still are) picked on the basis of their size and athleticism and not on their technical and tactical skills. Canadian coaches, who are rarely as qualified as they should be, usually put the emphasis on the physical side of the game, because that brings them results while players are still competing in their youth leagues.
In fact, it’s only natural to expect that a 12 year old with the body of a 15 year old will always outperform his opponents from the same age category. However, when this player gets older and faces more skillful players, he will most probably find himself out of his depth and will struggle for minutes at his club.
This has been the case with most Canadian players who were recruited as the biggest, fastest and fittest of their age groups, and as a result won their youth teams’ games and tournaments. But when the going got though, and when they needed to face opponents who have worked on their technique or when they needed to fight for a place in the first eleven with a teammate who had much better ball control and shooting abilities, Canadian players simply faded away.
Africa is probably the only continent where fans support not just their country, but other countries as well, just as long as they are from Africa. In fact, Africa is probably the only one of the continents which is supported as country at major tournaments.
The continent has been blessed with a wealth of talented footballers. In the past there were players like George Weah, Roger Milla, Nwankwo Kanu and Abedi Pele, and today players like Yaya Toure, Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto’o, Michael Essien, and John Obi Mikel are giving African fans reasons to cheer their teams to glory. Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester City, AC Milan and other European clubs have greatly benefited from the presence of African players in their clubs and have full trophy cabinets to prove that.
However, much to the dismay of supporters of their national teams, African players have never brought glory to their national teams when competing at football’s biggest stage, the World Cup. In fact, an African country has never gone past the quarter-final stages in all of the World Cups they have participated in.
There are several reasons why the World Cup has been an unobtainable goal for African teams in the past, and why this situation is likely to remain unchanged in the future as well. Here, we’ll have a look at five of those reasons.
- Socio-political factors
Africa, as a continent, is ravaged by social, religious and political conflicts. These off-field conflicts most definitely have an effect on on-field affairs, and that cannot be underestimated. It’s a well known fact that African players can’t wait to get a good offer from European clubs and leave their poor and corruption ridden work environments.
This has led to a drain in quality in domestic championships, with the best players leaving their home towns for pastures greener in some of Europe’s leagues. The situation doesn’t look like it’ll be changing anytime soon, as African football authorities seem unable to create satisfactory playing conditions for Africa’s talented youngsters.
- Corruption in football governing bodies
African football federations have always been in the centre of controversies before, during, and after major tournaments. At moments it seems like football federations in Africa care only about lining their executives’ and delegates’ pockets with money and not with their countries’ participation in tournaments. There are various bonuses being promised to players during qualifiers, but after a team qualifies for a World Cup, federations suddenly go quiet and the bonuses are nowhere to be seen.
Most of the time players stay silent about these problems, but players who play in Europe, and are used to high levels of professionalism, find these problems extremely annoying. Samuel Eto’o for example, was thrown out of Cameroon’s national team when he raised the question of bonuses not being paid to players. The same Cameroon squad didn’t want to board an airplane two years later, and again it was over a quarrel with Cameroon’s football federation over unpaid bonuses.
These types of disputes certainly leave a mark on players’ psychological preparations for games, and one can only imagine the negative effects they have on their performances when facing flawlessly run national teams like Germany or England.
- Lack of African born managers
We’ve all seen it. Ghana, Nigeria or Cameroon run out on the pitch and are followed by a foreign born manager, usually from countries like France, Serbia, Germany or some South American country. Sven-Goran Eriksson, Lars Lagerback, Paul Le Guen, Carlos Alberto Perreira, and Milovan Rajevac are all excellent coaches, and Perreira was actually a World Cup winner with Brasil in 1994, but they still lack the knowledge of African culture and football tradition.
One of the most often seen scenarios is when an African born coach takes his country on a winning run during qualification for major tournaments, and instead of getting the support from the country’s football federation he is immediately replaced by a foreign coach. It seems that the thought of playing at important tournaments with a domestic coach is inconceivable for federation chiefs.
- Failure of African star players to perform at World Cups
It has long been said that African players like Drogba, Eto’o and Yaya Toure don’t put in the same performances for their national teams that they put in for their clubs. Fans have often been angered by the perceived lack of ambition and motivation in these star players, who oftentimes looked like they just don’t care whether their national team wins or losses.
However, there is a more logical explanation as to why these top professionals appear to be different players when wearing their national team’s jerseys. And their football federations play a key role here as well. It seems that the federations’ insecurity and lack of confidence in their nations’ managers also has an effect on players’ performances. They look bereft of confidence, don’t show their leadership skills that they so clearly possess, and make wrong decisions in key moments of games. All of these are clear signs of players being down on confidence, and not of players not trying hard enough or not caring about their national teams’ fortunes.
- Lack of discipline
Lack of discipline has been another long-standing problem for African teams. Player power seems to play a huge role into how teams are organized and different fractions are often formed within the same team. Coaches can try as hard as they can to ameliorate the situation, but it seems that once all these different characters are together at the same training camp or hotel, battles of egos will inevitably arise.
This is strange since African people are not known for lacking organizational skills when they do something, whatever their profession may be. In fact, some of the best organized online casino review sites are from South Africa, Nigeria and other African countries, and you should look no further than at the published reports here to see just how well arranged all the casino promotions and bonuses are.
The FIFA executive committee declared that India will be given an opportunity to host their first FIFA event in the form of Under-17 World Cup Football.
This will be the biggest Football event India has ever witnessed. Other countries in the race to grab this big event were Ireland, Uzbekistan and South Africa.
“India confirmed by the FIFA ExCo as host of the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017,” FIFA tweets after the meeting.
“Yes, India has won the right to host the 2017 Under-17 World Cup Football. It’s official now,” All India Football Federation General Secretary Kushal Das.
FIFA under-17 World Cup 2017 will be a 24-nation extravaganza. A meeting was held at Salvador de Bahia, Brazil on 5th December 2013, to decide the tournament venue. The venue has been distributed among a few major cities namely New Delhi, Margao, Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai, Kolkata, Kochi and Guwahati.
President of AIFF, Praful Patel, congratulated India for this historic development.
He said, “This is historic. This is what we have been waiting for. I need to thank the FIFA Executive Committee for keeping their trust in us and granting India the rights to host the 2017 U-17 World Cup. I am also grateful to the Government of India for their support and giving us the necessary guarantees which made it possible for India to bid for the 2017 World Cup,”
The Sports Minister also cherishes this moment and did not hesitate to provide further details regarding the expenditure of this event.
“While the expenditure for upgradation of stadia (Rs 95 crore) will be provided as additional central assistance to the State Governments, a sum of Rs 25 crore is kept as a contingency to ensure smooth conduct of the tournament,” he said.
Sir Alex Ferguson is being touted by former Manchester United goalkeeper Mark Bosnich as the best man to lead Australia in next summer’s World Cup final in Brazil.
The Australian national team fondly called the Socceroo’s is without a coach following the sacking of German manager Holger Osieck after back to back defeats against Brazil and France the latest of which was last week’s 6-0 humiliation to the French.
Bosnich who used to play for Ferguson at United believes that the Australian Football Federation should do all they can to get the 71-year-old Scotsman to come out of retirement and lead Australia in next summer World Cup finals.
“We’ve been throwing around a lot of names but there’s one person that I haven’t heard mentioned – even though I’ve got more reason than anyone not to suggest him,” Bosnich, who suffered a difficult relationship with Ferguson during his second spell at Old Trafford, told Triple M radio station.
“I’m just being honest and have had experience under him, so know what he’s like – it is Sir Alex Ferguson.
“That name hasn’t been put about, but we need someone of that ilk.
“He (Ferguson) would command a top whack, but in life, and especially in sport, you get what you pay for. If you want the very best, you’re going to have to pay for the best.”
Ferguson surprisingly retired from football last summer after leading Manchester United to yet another Premier League title after being in charge of the Red Devils for 26-years, a feat that will be hard to imagine any manager achieving these days in our result driven society.
The Scot has been in charge of a national team before when he stepped in to take over the reins at Scotland following the sudden death of then manager Jock Stein in 1986, but failed to help lead the tartan army out of the group stage.
While Bosnich makes a good choice for Ferguson to become Australia’s next manager I find it difficult to imagine that Sir Alex would even contemplate a move being quite happy in his retirement even though it is thought that he still tells new United manager David Moyes what to do from behind the scenes.
Australia will have to look hard for a coach that is willing to take on a thankless job, as the current Australian side look as though in their present state to be the whipping boys during next summer in Brazil.
Call me a skeptic, but do you think that the 1.2 million people we saw protesting on the streets during the Confederations Cup has had anything to do with the fact that footballs governing body Fifa has decided to sell tickets at a discount as an attempt to lure fans to come to Brazil?
With ticket prices to be announced on July 19th the General Secretary of Fifa Jerome Valcke has said that 70% of the tickets would be less expensive than previous events.
Despite all the public demonstrations against the World Cup and the corruption and crime in the country Fifa President Sepp Blatter claimed the Confederations Cup that ended on Sunday to be a huge success, and when talking to reporters on Monday said:
“I am happy we come to a conclusion now with a sporting result and the impression that the social unrest is now resting – I don’t know how long for.”
The head of the sport’s governing body also went on to talk about reports that some of the stadiums would not be finished in time with some of the grounds having to be adapted at the last minute in order for the Confederations Cup to take place and with fears that the country’s infrastructure would be unable to cope with the amount of expected visitors Blatter went on to say: “When we started the competition there was some uncertainty what would happen.”
When asked about security concerns for the World Cup all Fifa officials would say was that it was a matter for the Brazilian government.
During the Confederations Cup people protesting the event and the fact that Fifa gained tax exempt profits after a high investment of public funds that could have been used to better the lives of ordinary Brazilians the police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the crowds.
I for one think that the World Cup should have been moved to the United States following the unrest we saw on the streets of Brazil, and that as a fan I put my safety above football so despite loving the game I have no desire to attend the competition in Brazil next summer where I predict there will be more violent protests as people from around the world watch the matches on television.
One final note to the geniuses that organised the Confederations Cup that while I know they could not have predicted who would be in the final. Having the match kick-off at midnight in Europe before a workday was stupid especially when it could have been played on Sunday afternoon instead of at night.