ALSO ON SLAM!
Tuesday, June 6, 2000
Nats add another Winnipeg date
Cup qualifier offered
Because enough came, they built a positive relationship with the national soccer body.
Although the Winnipeg Soccer Complex was more than 3,000 short of capacity (about 10,000) for an international friendly between Team Canada and Honduras last week, the Canadian Soccer Association was still impressed enough to offer Winnipeg another World Cup qualifying match, Manitoba Soccer Association president Frank Capasso said yesterday.
"We already have an offer from the CSA to host a game in either July or September," said Capasso, also a CSA director. "That was on the table a week and a half ago, depending on how successful we were hosting these games.
"We're excited about getting them back for another game. That was our intention from the beginning."
Of course, Canada must win the two-game Cup qualifier against Cuba first. Canada opened the series with a 1-0 victory in Havana on Sunday and will host the second and final match at the WSC this Sunday night.
Winnipeg, however, may have to fight Edmonton for the July game. The Alberta capital has decided to delay renovations to Commonwealth Stadium that would make the pitch too narrow for international soccer play until August just so it can host that match.
But, once Commonwealth Stadium is converted, the national team may look to Winnipeg as its new home base.
"Even people at the CSA say we have one of the best fields in Canada," Capasso said.
Last week's exhibition match drew 6,400 supporters, who paid $30 and $15 per ticket. There were already 3,600 ducats sold for this weekend's game (same prices) as of Sunday.
"I hope we sell the game out because this is a do-or-die situation for Canada," Capasso said. "If we win, we go on to the next round.
"If we lose, we have to wait another four years. And I don't even want to think about that."
Team Canada returns to Winnipeg today and will train at the WSC all week.