Canada completes CONCACAF Futsal journey
Posted on 4 July 2012 in Futsal Team
Canada has completed its first-ever participation in the CONCACAF Futsal Championship, taking part in the eight-team final tournament from 2-4 July 2012. Canada qualified for the tournament in dramatic fashion last week, scoring a pair of goals in the final 16 seconds of a second leg to earn the final berth to the CONCACAF Futsal Championship. Then amongst the final eight teams in the first few days of July in Ciudad Guatemala, Canada did not advance beyond the group phase.
"We set a goal to qualify for the CONCACAF Futsal Championship and we did that," said Canadian coach Sipho Sibiya. "The way our players came together was fantastic. We competed in every match and, had a couple of bounces maybe gone our way, we could have shook up the group and qualified for Thailand 2012."
Canada won its qualifying series 7-6 on aggregate to eliminate El Salvador on 29 June in Ciudad Guatemala, losing 1:4 on 28 June before winning 6:2 the following day. Down 5-6 on aggregate in the final minute of the series, Canada scored two late goals to qualify for the 2012 CONCACAF Futsal Championship.
This week in group play, Canada lost 3:7 to host Guatemala on 2 July and then 2:3 to USA on 3 July. Canada was even in both matches before their opponents pulled away. In need of a victory by three or more goals on 4 July, Canada came up short in a 5:8 loss to Panama. As a result, Guatemala and Panama from Group A, as well as Costa Rica and Mexico from Group B, qualified for the FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012.
"We needed goals (in our final match), so we were playing an uphill battle," said Sibiya. In five matches (including qualifying), Canada scored 17 goals, but conceded 24 goals. In terms of notable performances, coach Sibiya selected teenager Daniel Chamale as Canada's player of the tournament.
While Canada, Cuba, St. Kitts and Nevis and USA all return home, the CONCACAF Futsal Championship continues with the semi-final phase on 6 July and the CONCACAF final on 8 July. All matches are played at the Domo Polideportivo in Ciudad Guatemala.
For the qualifying series and CONCACAF Futsal Championship, Canada's 14-player roster featured goalkeepers Joshua Lemos, Roy Blanche and Vincent Cournoyer as well as outfield players Bruno Xavier, Steve De Blasio, Matthew Rios, Robbie Aristodemo, Robbie Tice, Daniel Chamale, Alex Elliott, Louis-Charles Laliberté, Jordan Ongaro, Alvaro Yaques and Ian Bennett.
The FIFA Futsal World Cup is held every four years, with this year's Thailand 2012 tournament scheduled from 1-18 November 2012.