Club Or Country? Call-Ups Arrive During CPL Playoff Season
The 2023 Canadian Premier League playoffs are here, and they arrive at the same moment some countries are hoping to call upon the league’s athletes in competetive international action.
While it remains to be seen who’ll be jetting off to answer their country’s call or remaining in Canada to don their club colours instead, here’s a quick look at this month’s international call-ups for the CPL:
Forge FC – Garven Metusala
It’s no surprise to see Forge’s Garven Metusala called back to Haiti, especially given that he’s played every possible minute for the country since the 2023 Gold Cup.
What’s more interesting is that neither Forge nor Metusala himself have commented on his call-up for Haiti, begging the question of if he’ll forego Concacaf Nations League matches against Suriname and Jamaica in favour of helping Forge push for a spot in the 2023 CPL Final.
Metusala has earned seven caps for Haiti since making his debut last March, and has seen his season at the club level impacted by injuries and national team duty – though we won’t have long to wait to see if he’ll be dressing in orange or blue.
Halifax Wanderers – Andre Rampersad
The Halifax Wanderers also see Andre Rampersad called back to Trinidad and Tobago national team duty, with the 28-year-old asked to feature for the Soca Warriors against Guatemala and Curacao on the 13th and 17th respectively.
While Rampersad hasn’t featured for Halifax as much as he has in previous years, it remains to be seen if he has travelled to join the team in lieu of Halifax’s first-ever home playoff match.
HIs long-awaited introduction to national team action has seen him make seven competitive appearances this year alone, with Rampy scoring a flourishing goal against Jamaica at this summer’s Gold Cup.
It’s also interesting to see that Trinidad and Tobago skipped out on call-ups for Atletico Ottawa’s Luke Singh and Malcolm Shaw, who both featured at the Gold Cup and are missing out on playoffs, while former CPLers Ryan Telfer and Kareem Moses are also in the mix.
Vancouver FC – Mikael Cantave
It’s a much-deserved call up for Mikael Cantave, who finally returns to national team duty after a two-year absence.
He’s been a consistent and proven CPL attacker all season, proving himself a bright spark for Vancouver since his midseason move from Cavalry. Cantave capped his season with an impressive six goals and two assists, and VFC will be leaning on his experience come 2024.
The Ottawa-born winger had been hoping his fine form at the club level would open up a return for Les Grenadiers, who he’d last featured for in late 2021. Suffice to say, this is a call-up that has been a long time coming – and one where playoffs aren’t an implication.
York United – Brem Soumaoro
We’ll find out tonight if York United will be marching into tomorrow’s playoff match against Pacific without key man Brem Soumaoro, who got another public nod from Liberia.
Soumaoro – who has donned the captain’s armband for his country before – may partake in a friendly match against Libya before suiting up for a tough Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Morocco.
That match was delayed due to a devastating earthquake in Morocco that claimed over two thousand lives. With Liberia already eliminated from qualification, there’s a big question mark over whether he’ll take on national team duty or stick with York United for their underdog playoff venture.
It remains to be seen if Nine Stripes defender Jonathan Grant is with Guyana, while Molham Babouli didn’t get the nod for Syria this time around. That’ll be good news for Martin Nash, who knows it’s all uphill from here.
The 2023 CPL Playoffs will begin with a fourth-versus-fifth match between Pacific and York United tomorrow, and there isn’t much time to catch your breath after that: The Wanderers will face the victor of that game on Saturday, with the first-versus-second match between Cavalry and Forge following in the evening.
That will determine who hosts the 2023 CPL Final, with the visiting team being whoever wins the semi-final match set for October 21. By that point, everyone involved in national team call ups should be back in action at the club level.