Which CPL Players Just Got International Call-Ups?
There are no less than seven Canadian Premier League athletes who just got the nod for their national teams, with two of them potentially earning their first national team debut.
That’s quite a hefty number of league athletes set to be involved in international action this March, with at least five former CPL players also set to participate in the international window, too.
Let’s take a recap on who’s been tapped:
Andre Rampersad (Halifax Wanderers / Trinidad and Tobago)
This one has been a long time coming: donning the captain’s armband out east, club original Andre Rampersad has consistently proven to be one of the league’s best possession-dictating midfielders in the league.
Rampy has received the nod from Trinidad and Tobago before, but circumstances meant he couldn’t join The Soca Warriors earlier. Now, the 29-year-old is likely to see action against the Bahamas and Nicaragua in Concacaf Nations League B action.
Andrew Jean-Baptiste (Valour FC / Haiti)
We’ll preface this one with the band news first: Jean-Baptiste picked up a knock and will, unfortunately, remain in Winnipeg for Haiti’s Concacaf Nations League matches against Montserrat and Bermuda.
The veteran big man at the back had returned to the national team fold in late 2022, and while he never got the nod earlier in his CPL career we’ll never know. ‘The Beast’ has been an CPL stalwart when fit, but it’s clear that injuries haven’t been kind to him of late.
Brem Soumaoro (York United / Liberia)
The first of three York United players to earn the nod this window, Liberian defender Brem Soumaoro will jump straight into Africa Cup of Nations qualifying action against South Africa later this month.
The back-to-back action will get a great test for Soumaoro, who has already accrued ten caps for his country and has donned the captain’s armband for them, too.
The crucial tilts against South Africa are expected to define who’ll qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations, so it’ll be interesting to see how the new Nine Stripes defender fares in such a high-profile clash.
Eugene ‘Pele’ Martinez (Vancouver FC / Belize)
The first-ever Vancouver FC signing will also make history as the member of the club to represent his country.
Belizean defender Eugene ‘Pele’ Martinez will suit up for his country in Concacaf Nations League B action against Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.
Martinez, who plays as a centre-back, made four national team appearances for Belize last year and played for NCAA Division II side Cal Poly Pomona Broncos and the UPSL’s Flash FC before impressing Vancouver FC in an open trial and turning pro.
Jonathan Grant (York United / Guyana)
It’s a first-time call up to Guyana for Jonathan Grant, something we reported on over a month ago.
The 29-year-old will join the Golden Jaguars for the upcoming international window for Concacaf Nations League B match against Bermuda this Saturday, with a match in Barbados against Montserrat set to follow.
It remains to be seen where Grant will fit in the team: he’s one of the most versatile guys in CPL circles, featuring all across the back-line, in midfield, and sometimes as a forward, too.
Grant had nearly made his international debut for Canada back in 2015, when he was included in team roster for two friendlies against Iceland – though the former Canada U-23 man didn’t feature in either fixture.
Pacifique Niyongabire (Valour FC / Burundi)
New Valour FC forward Pacifique Niyongabire will be suiting up for Burundi in a few days time, having recently introduced himself to the squad last November.
Burundi was initially set to face both Indonesia and Kenya, but the latter bowed out after a disagreement on where to play the matches. Now Niyongabire and his team will face Indonesia in two friendlies on March 24 and 27 respectively.
The 23-year-old forward has left preseason camp to join the team, with the former Perth Glory FC attacker remaining an intriguing addition for Phillip Dos Santos.
Mo Babouli (York United / Syria)
Nine Stripes forward Molham Babouli has been named for Syria ahead of two friendly tilts against Thailand and Bahrain, marking his first return to the squad after featuring against the UAE and South Korea just over a year ago.
Babouli has proven to be a remarkable talent in the CPL level, utterly transforming York United’s fortunes when the former Forge man arrived as a late-season addition last year. A focal point at York Lions Stadium, it remains to be seen how he’ll fit under the Syrian setup with new head coach Hector Cuper.
One thing about Mo, though – he’s good at first impressions.
It’s also worth noting that the Canadian national team called up two players who used the Canadian Premier League as a stepping stool to greater heights, with Dominick Zator and Victor Loturi both cracking John Herdman’s squad for the window.
Former Valour FC forward William Akio also got the nod with South Sudan, who will embark on back-to-back matches against Congo over the next seven days. Also called up for Barbados is former Pacific and Cavalry striker Jordan Brown, while former York United and Atletico Ottawa attacker Ryan Telfer will suit up for Trinidad and Tobago again.
With a seven current Canadian Premier League players set to represent their countries over the next few days and at least five former CPL athletes also set to represent their countries, it’s a great time to be a fan of the growing league.