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Montreal Gazette: CSA brass drops ball with Simoes


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PAT HICKEY, The Gazette

Published: Wednesday, May 09, 2007

As I've said time and again, the only problem with the so-called amateur sports is that they are run by amateurs.

There are exceptions. For example, Ken Read has combined his lifetime love of skiing and business acumen to breathe new life into Canada's alpine skiing program.

But there are no Ken Reads running the Canadian Soccer Association and I wasn't surprised when I received an email from Jeffrey Swartz on behalf of The Voyageurs, a national group of Canadian soccer fans. The Voyageurs are frustrated by the failure of the CSA to hire a national coach and technical director. Both positions have been vacant for nearly a year.

It appeared that the CSA had its man when a selection committee recommended the hiring of Rene Simoes, a Brazilian with an outstanding resume, to fill both jobs. He guided Jamaica's Reggae Boyz to a surprise appearance in the 1998 World Cup and, most recently, was the coach of the Brazilian women's team that was runner-up to the U.S. in the FIFA women's World Cup.

While the CSA was looking for someone who could guide Canada to a berth in the 2010 World Cup, Simoes had a vision that went beyond a single tournament. He hoped to bring a team of top Brazilian coaches to Canada to revitalize a moribund program. He correctly noted that Canada has the talent, with more than 100 players in elite leagues around the world, but the program lacked focus.

The CSA seemed to confirm that belief when it rejected Simoes's plan. They offered him a job, but rejected the idea of hiring people to support him.

The result is the CSA is still looking for a replacement for Frank Yallop, who left for the MLS last June. The program is being led by Stephen Hart, who is said to be a candidate for Yallop's job, but the fact he's still carrying the interim tag would indicate nobody at the CSA is taking his candidature seriously.

I don't know whether Simoes was the right man for the job, but I do know Canada has to find a new leader and a new direction in a hurry. The CONCACAF Gold Cup is next month and it gives the national coach an opportunity to evaluate his talent - and the opposition - for World Cup qualifying, which begins next summer.

There are three, possibly four, berths available for CONCACAF teams for the 2010 finals in South Africa and Canada needs every advantage it can get. We failed to reach the final round of qualifying for the 2006 tournament and are No. 94 in the FIFA rankings. More importantly, Canada ranks 11th among CONCACAF nations.

Fight didn't save boxing: Saturday's fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Oscar De La Hoya made a lot of money for Mayweather and even more for De La Hoya, who received the larger share of the purse, as well as cashing in as the fight's promoter.

But even if the fight had lived up to its hype, it wouldn't have been the fight that saves a dying sport. There simply aren't enough attractive matchups available. There is some talk of a rematch, but surely fight fans would recognize it as a cash grab. Mayweather has said he's retiring and De La Hoya would be advised to do the same. He has lost three of his last four fights.

Suns trainer busy: Phoenix Suns trainer Aaron Nelson had a difficult time getting Steve Nash back into action after suffering a cut nose in a collision with San Antonio's Tony Parker. Nelson said he used 20 pairs of latex gloves, 20 gauze pads, several Steri-strips and 10 Band-Aids to treat Nash.


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With the likes of Stephen Brunt from the Globe and Mail and now Pat Hickey from the Gazette publicly writing and blasting the CSA and the Voyagers effort to criticise the CSA through every major publication in this country, maybe, just maybe the CSA will wake up and smell the coffee.

Well I can only dream, can't I?

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CSA is disgusting me. They need to cut back on the board of directors and get someone at the helm that has a little more power. Be it for better or for worse at least things will get done, with the state of the CSA where it is right now it is obvious that nothing is getting accomplished. We have'nt filled any positions and our MNT players and potential players must only be shaking their heads in disbelief. We have probably the best crop of CDN talent ever at this moment and what looks like a great shot at qualifying to the next WC and we are finding ways to fck things up before a single qualifying game has been played. I am not saying all is lost but we are'nt making the task of turning this ship around any easier.

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