Jump to content

Rising Tensions (Ben Knight's post today)


Recommended Posts

For anyone having trouble accessing his site today:

Rising tensions

Filed in Blog Entries on Jan.30, 2009

By Ben Knight

Two significant shots were fired in the CSA war yesterday.

The Voyageurs, Canada’s national soccer supporters’ group, sent out a letter demanding Dale Mitchell’s dismissal of head coach of the national team, on the simple grounds that it ain’t woikin’.

Dino Rossi, lead signatory on the petition and main organizer of 2007 Black T-Shirt protest, will be our special guest on “It’s Called Football” on ThatChannel.com, tomorrow at noon. We will have much to discuss.

The other blast was a follow-up lob, fired from Spain, from disgusted Canada midfielder Julian DeGuzman. The soon-to-be ex-Deportivo La Coruna ball wizard ruffled some feathers a couple of weeks back when he called the CSA “a cancer.” The CSA fired back that the reference was taken out-of-context. It wasn’t.

Yesterday, DeGuzman went blast all over again, in an Associated Press story with Canadian Press additions.

“It feels like we’re taking a step backwards,” he said. “That’s the feeling in the whole association. They lack knowledge about the present game.”

Imagine that, Metcalfe Street! Here you are, arranging to give this nice young man a working holiday in Cyprus (Canada’s next international friendly), and he doesn’t seem to appreciate it.

“The players we have were good enough to make the World Cup, I don’t care what anyone says,” DeGuzman added. “I heard statements from the coach where he said the team wasn’t good enough … but this team for me was the best team, but it was just the way he went about it, we went about it like a bunch of amateurs.”

Then comes the telling line – the high white note of truth in this entire sorry debate:

“You’re not going to make everyone happy if you don’t have a proper plan about going about it.”

There’s a great old moment in the comic strip Doonesbury from long, long ago. Uncle Duke, the drug-addled, out-of-control gun freak, is cornered in a restaurant by his young assistant, who’s trying to talk him out of whatever mad scheme is about to go haywire this time.

“A plan,” Duke muses, trying to remember. “I must have had a plan.”

“Please try to remember, sir,” the kid urges. “I’ve got to try to stop you.”

Point being – yeah, there’s a plan. A “strategic initiative,” even. But it’s all on hold because it relies on a fee increase on amateur players that was filed too late for any clubs or provincial associations to be able to adopt it.

But from way out here – and I have no doubt Dino Rossi will agree with this – it doesn’t matter WHAT the plan is. These people have to be stopped.

The biggest reasons we’re playing Cyprus are we don’t count internationally, and we don’t have any money. And since we would count internationally if we could pony up the dough, this is all about not having any money.

The bigger, deeper problem is the people who run the game in this country have no idea how to raise money, other than increasing fees. This means they expect us to support professional national teams on the backs of amateur players. The rest of the world has been there, done that, and long-since moved on.

DeGuzman did add that he would never refuse to play for Canada. He still considers it a great honour, even if he’s baffled and frustrated by the CSA’s chronic, self-perpetuating inefficiency. I respect that – even though I’m starting to wonder what would happen if the players unanimously refused to play in this summer’s Gold Cup?

This isn’t really about Dale Mitchell, who has been a fine servant of Canadian soccer throughout a long, once-great, now unfortunately fading career. It’s about the system that put him there – the same names, faces, rivalries, infighting, naivety and general inability to even understand the problem, let alone solve it.

I want to tell you that I have great hopes for general secretary Peter Montopoli and technical director Stephen Hart, two men who have broad respect and support from knowledgeable soccer people coast-to-coast. But I have no faith – none – in the management and board of the Canadian Soccer Association.

We need a CEO who can raise money, and the CSA board will have to stand down and let him work.

And let’s get more of those players speaking out. Dwayne DeRosario, Iain Hume, Jim Brennan, Tomasz Radzinski, Pat Onstad – I’ve always got a sympathetic ear if anybody wants to talk.

That door is open to Stephen Hart and Peter Montopoli as well, especially if you gents know a way out of the wilderness that could actually come true – soon.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...