Sunday, July 26, 2015

Canada should play in the Central American Cup....

The Central American Cup is lacking since it only has 7 nations playing in this nice little tournament.  7 nations create an odd group of only 3 nations. The group needs a 4th team to complete the group. I believe they should invite Canada to participate. This would finally complete the odd group and not give the advantage anymore to the winner of the 3 team group. This group always plays one less game than the other group.

 Canada should offer their guaranteed Gold Cup slot as bait. Presently the CA Cup places the 4 top teams in the Gold Cup. The 5th place team (Honduras) plays the 5th Caribbean Cup (French Guiana) team for the last spot. If Canada offered their spot, CA Cup would place the 5 top teams from the tournament directly into the Gold Cup.  

The tournament could have the top 2 teams in each group earn 4 slots for the Gold Cup. They would play in a knockout round for the Central American Championship. The bottom 4 teams would also play in a 4 team knockout round. Group A 3rd plays Group B’s 4th place and Group B’s 3rd place plays Group a’s 4th place finisher. The 2 winners of the consolation knockout play each other for the last guaranteed spot. The loser of this consolation round would play the 5th place Caribbean nations for the last spot for the Gold Cup.

The arrangement would guarantee at least 4 competitive games for every nation which is badly needed in CONCACAF. The top teams would get 5 competitive games in the tournament. This seems like a win-win for each side.

Good for Canada 

            First of all Canada badly needs competitive national team games, especially before the Gold Cup. They just do not get enough. Playing in another tournament to warm up for the Gold Cup is a great idea. Playing against teams that are about your equal is even better. The Central American Cup is a perfect tournament that Canada should play in. These teams are great with the soccer ball at their feet. They do not panic with the ball and are skillful dribblers. Canada was bigger, faster and more athletic however need this type of competition to sharpen their skills. This tournament would provide 4 to 5 very competitive games that mean something. Friendlies against Iceland, Moldova and Bulgaria are just not the same.  

            As for the Gold Cup, Canada shouldn’t just get an automatic bid; they should have to qualify for it. Entering the CA Cup would solve this issue. Canada did not advance out of the group stage in the 2011, 2013 and 2015 Gold Cup’s. This left Canada with only 3 competitive games for the year, for their national team. The 2009 Gold Cup was only one better they advanced but lost in the opening game of the knockout round, thus playing in only 4 competitive games. This give the Canadian faithful an empty feeling after only watching your national team play only 3 games. The teams in the Central American Cup are almost the same teams they face in the Gold Cup. Playing in the Central American Cup as a guest would provide the Canadian faithful with a nice competitive tournament before the Gold Cup. Since Canada doesn’t make the World Cup, a tournament like this would do great to raise the interest of the sport in Canada and improve the national team.

            I think Canada should offer their guaranteed slot to the Central American Cup to entice the nations (tournament) to invite them.  As for those of you who say this is crazy, why miss out on the Gold Cup….I say if Canada cannot get at least 5th place in the Central American  Cup then they don’t deserve to go anyway.

This is how things could work. The top 2 teams in each group get the converted 4 Gold Cups spots. These 4 teams then play in the Championship knockout rounds, just like it is now. The bottom 4 teams enter their own knockout round for Canada’s extra Gold Cup spot. Here is an example.

Canada is placed in Group A and plays 3 competitive games against Costa Rica, El Salvador and Belize. These games are played away from home.  Canada loses to CR, ties El Sal and beats Belize for the sake of argument. They lose out to El Sal because of goals scored. Costa Rica and El Salvador enter into the knockout rounds for the Central American Cup title against Panama and Honduras. Canada Belize, Guatemala and Nicaragua also enter their own knockout rounds for the last guaranteed spot. This knockout group will be playing for Canada’s Gold Cup spot. Let’s say Canada beats Nicaragua and Guatemala in this knockout round. This would get Canada into the Gold Cup with 5 competitive games under their belt right before the Gold Cup. These games would be invaluable for Canada.

Now I know what they nay sayers are thinking. Now let’s say Canada beats lowly Nicaragua but loses to Guatemala in the final. Canada would then still be able to enter the Gold Cup as the 6th best Central American Cup finisher and play against the 5th place Caribbean Nation on a playoff. This would give Canada 6 competitive games leading up to the Gold Cup that same year if they qualify. If Canada can not qualify in this scenario against this competition then so be it. This I believe is better. IT is better since Canada would have played at least the same amount of games it would have played in the Gold Cup. More than likely Canada will play 5 or 6 competitive games and made the Gold Cup which is what Canada badly needs.
This is good for the Central American Cup for a few reasons.
  1. First they will complete the 3 nation group and stop giving the advantage to the 3 team group winners.
  2. Give all nations at least 4 competitive games. The loser of the 3 team group only plays 2 games.
  3. The host nation will be able to host double headers in the knockout rounds to keep the tournament interesting.
  4. Gives more exposure to these Central American nations.

No comments: