Olympic Qualifying Draw Sees Canada Face Haiti, Honduras, and El Salvador
Canadian Premier League fans take note: the Olympic Qualifying draw officially took place last night, with Canada being drawn into a group against Haiti, Honduras, and El Salvador.
While it’ll still be a bit of time before Canada calls up its Canada U-23 squad for the Olympic Qualifiers, it is expected that some of the Canadian Premier League‘s top youngsters will be involved in the international competition which takes place from March 20 to April 1 in Guadalajara.
Canada has been drawn into Group A against the aforementioned countries, while Group B consists of Mexico, USA, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic. Each group sees countries compete in a round robin tournament, with Canada’s matches taking place on March 21 against El Salvador, March 24 against Haiti, and March 27 against Honduras.
If Canada finishes in the top two from Group B, it will advance to the semi-finals against a top two Group B side on March 30. Canada will then need to win that semi-final in order to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. If it wins the semi-final, it will also move on to the confederation final due to take place on April 1, 2020.
The Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament provides Canada with the opportunity to continue the success of an aligned Men’s National Team Program. This is an opportunity for our U-23 players to help Canada qualify for the Olympic Games and gain experience on their journey to the Men’s National Team.Mauro Biello
While being drawn in a group that doesn’t include favourites like USA and Mexico is certainly favourable for Canada, the team will do well not to get complacent: after all, it was Haiti who knocked Canada out of the Gold Cup in a match where Canada were looked upon as heavy favourites.
If senior national team standouts Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David are allowed leave by their club to participate, both would be big boosts to the country’s qualification chances. Davies has been deployed by Herdman at left-back at the senior level, though it isn’t known where he might be deployed for the Concacaf Olympic Qualifying tournament if Bayern Munich grants him leave to play.
Canada’s January training camp is a good indicator regarding which youngsters senior team head coach John Herdman may be taking a close look at, given that the list of call-ups certainly trends young. During Tuesday’s 4-1 win over Barbados, there were five different youngsters who made their debut.
Canadian Premier League MVP Tristan Borges is currently with the senior national team, and may feature later on tonight in Canada’s second friendly against Barbados. He’s expect to be one of the Canadian Premier League players most likely to participate in Canada’s Olympic Qualifying, with rumours indicating that York9 FC left-back Diyaeddine Abzi also has a good shout to debut in an area where the senior team certainly needs more depth.
Of course, there are plenty of other Olympic hopefuls plying their trade in the professional league – though whether Canadian coach Mauro Biello – who appears to be taking the reigns for the tournament – gives them a shot over MLS youngsters or some of the recent dual national call-ups remains to be seen.
Source: Canada Soccer