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  • Floro offers thoughts from his first Canada camp


    The Canadian soccer media (such as it is) has had two cracks at men's national team head coach Benito Floro since he was named to the full-time position.

    On both occasions Floro, whose mother tongue is Spanish but who speaks some English and French, was scheduled to answer all questions through a translator. But on both occasions, he decided to forgo the intermediary and, to the greatest extent possible, answer questions about the Canadian team in his own words.

    While that shows an admirable sense of dedication to his new home and position, the end result is that we don't know very much more about Canada's current training camp in Spain than we did before. But what came through loud and clear is that Floro isn't interested in dwelling on the past.

    "We are looking at the present and the future. The past is the past," he said when asked about Canada's exit from 2014 World Cup qualifying. "Canadian people want to see Canada in Russia (for the 2018 World Cup)."


    Of course, Russia 2018 is a long way away, and Floro's current 33-player camp is just the starting point on that rocky journey. And while Floro brings a fresh set of eyes to the Canadian setup, some things are destined to stay the same.

    "It's a general problem," when asked if he had had any trouble getting clubs to release players for national-team duty, an oft-cited complaint of his predecessor, Stephen Hart.

    "It is necessary to have a good relationship with the clubs because for us it's very important all the national team players are playing. But I understand sometimes for the clubs it's necessary to keep the players or use the players for an important match."

    To that end, Floro said he definitely has other players on his radar for future camps.

    "I saw several players (in the current camp) that I think have the possibility to participate in the first team as soon as possible," he said. "Maybe there are other players for the next camp; I think it's possible to call them."

    Will that next camp be in England next month? An Australian report this week suggested that Canada will play the Socceroos in a friendly on Oct. 16 in London. That match would not only represent a stern on-field test for a rebuilding Canadian squad, but the national team's first opportunity to go up against former gaffer Holger Osieck.

    "I don't know, because at this moment I'm only thinking of this camp," Floro said, before a CSA representative swiftly stepped in to clarify matters.

    "The CSA has a policy that it doesn't announce matches until a contract is signed," she said. "There is no contract signed."

    Even so, plenty of national-team friendlies have been leaked in foreign media sources in the past several years, so no one should be overly surprised if this one comes to fruition too.

    For now, though, the focus is on Mauritania, a team that Floro described as "very good" (the same verbiage used to assess the pool of Canadian players at his disposal, for what it's worth). But why would Canada select Mauritania as its dance partner for this pair of friendlies?

    While Floro said they would present a "good test" to his charges, the truth is that it was more about logistics -- Canada wanted to play two friendlies during the course of their camp, and of the several nations they approached as potential opponents, Mauritania was the only one who agreed to the double dip.

    We won't get to see what Floro sees -- as one might suspect, given the circumstances -- as it was confirmed that the games won't be televised or streamed (though live tweets and a post-match video highlight pack should be available). Still, as Floro said, at this point it's much more about the progress than the results.

    But if his approach to managing is anything like his approach to dealing with the media, at least we can be reasonably sure that Senor Floro is going to give it everything he's got.


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