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    CHRONO SPORTS

  • Thursday, May 11, 2000

    Trinidad bails on Canada

    By TONY MARASCHIELLO -- Toronto Sun

      Trinidad and Tobago, beaten 1-0 by Canada in the semi-finals of the Gold Cup, is backing out of its exhibition match against the Canadian men's soccer team on May 27 at Varsity Stadium.

     A source close to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation told The Toronto Sun yesterday new Trinidad coach Ian Porterfield is reluctant to give the suddenly competitive Canadians any further edge should the two teams meet in World Cup qualifying.

     "The coach wants to keep things under wraps," the source said on condition of anonymity. "I don't think he is bitter about losing to Canada at the Gold Cup. He simply doesn't want the Canadians to get a good assessment of us before (World Cup) qualifying."

     WILL TALK IT OUT

     Canada and Trinidad could meet at some point in Football Confederation (formerly CONCACAF) qualifying for the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

     Canadian Soccer Association officials, who are in the Bahamas for the biannual Football Confederation meetings, found out through a Trinidadian newspaper article on Monday about Trinidad's intent to pull out of the friendly.

     CSA president Jim Fleming and chief operating officer Kevan Pipe plan to meet with Trinidad soccer officials today in the Bahamas.

     "Our attitude is that the game is on," CSA spokesman Morgan Quarry said. "We have a contract."

     Should Trinidad succeed in its attempt to pull out, Canada will be left scrambling to find another opponent.

     "We definitely needed that game to prepare for our World Cup qualifying matches," Canadian coach Holger Osieck said. "They are the ones who insisted on playing us in May. But nothing surprises me in (the Football Confederation)."

     Canada beat Trinidad 1-0 at the Gold Cup tournament in February in Los Angeles. Canada went on to beat Colombia in the final to capture its first major international trophy.

     QUALIFYING

     Canada has another friendly scheduled against Honduras at Winnipeg on May 30.

     Canada begins World Cup qualifying on June 4 when it takes on either Cuba or Barbados in a home-and-home preliminary-round series.

     The home leg will be played in Winnipeg on a yet-to-be-determined date.

     Osieck yesterday announced the players available for the coming matches. Twelve of the 18 selected were on the Gold Cup-winning squad.

     However, Canada will have to do without Gold Cup MVP goalie Craig Forrest, who will be out several weeks recovering from a hernia operation. Dundee United keeper Pat Onstad likely will take Forrest's place.



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