The administrators at CONCACAF may be doing their best to make a shambles of their roles (something that seems to be engraved into the job description of pretty much everybody in charge of soccer) but thankfully the game itself continues unaffected, and the 2011 Gold Cup tournament starts on Sunday when Costa Rica face Cuba.
The Canadian team don’t get into action until Tuesday when they face the host nation USA. After that things should get easier with games against Guadaloupe and Panama, meaning that unless they massively under perform a place in the quarter-finals is well within reach.
Whitecaps midfielder Terry Dunfield could be a regular starter for for the team and, if coach Stephen Hart can somehow find a way to get the best out of Dwayne De Rosario, the side is solid enough to even make it to the last four although a repeat of the triumphs in 1985 and 2000 seems a little too much to ask.
Players to look out for from other nations? Javier Hernandez is returning from a sensational first season with Manchester United and will be the main danger for a Mexican team that probably start as favourites, Honduras have a handful of performers that play in European leagues including Tottenham’s Wilson Palacios, and the USA can field the likes of Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey to lead their challenge.
For Canada look out for forward Simeon Jackson who scored the goal that earned Norwich City promotion to the Premier League this season and may now be ready to make a genuine impact on the international stage, and Montreal’s Ali Gerba may not look the most athletic of players but he has an impressive scoring record when he turns out for his home nation.
Whatever happens this will be an all too rare opportunity chance to assess how a squad that should, for the most part, still be together in three years time is progressing.
So take the chance to have a break from the tension of watching the Canucks (or the frustration of watching the Whitecaps) and let yourself enjoy some international soccer instead.Tags: World soccer