What a feeling to be No ... 90!

KEITH BRADFORD -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:09 AM ET

It's time to rejoice.

And to start feeling better about life, the universe and Canadian soccer, apparently.

After all, according to reports published yesterday, Frank Yallop's men "ended the year on a high note" (yes, The Canadian Press really did write that) by moving up five places in the world rankings.

Yes, I can confirm that our Maple Leafs have now reached the dizzy heights of No. 90.

And if they continue to progress at their current pace, there's no telling what might happen. We could be down to 80 by the end of the decade. Heck, a few lucky breaks and it could even be 79.

And then everyone can rejoice once more. Have a party. And toast our great soccer success.

GO TO THE WEBSITE

Alternatively, fans could just go to the FIFA website and find out where Canada really stands.

Which, at No. 90 in the rankings, is currently one place behind the soccer giants of Togo, six back from Burkina Faso and a full 34 places behind Oman. Oh dear.

I'm sure some would argue that the most important thing is where Canada ranks among CONCACAF countries, which include those in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

After all, it's unfair to compare Canada to such mighty soccer powers as Zimbabwe (ranked 60 worldwide), Iraq (44, the war notwithstanding) and Egypt (34).

WAY BEHIND CUBA ...

But when you consider that Canada is ninth among CONCACAF nations, way behind the likes of Cuba (76), Guatemala (71) and Honduras (59), it's hard to feel much like celebrating.

When you look at Canada's squad, you can hardly say we have a talent-deficit compared to, say, Honduras. And in Yallop we're lucky to have a proven coach.

As has been said and written many times before, it's the chronic lack of time Canada's team gets to prepare for matches that is killing its chances of performing anywhere near potential.

And while a Canadian MLS soccer team would certainly help to solve that problem, it's time for fans to stop being so damned patient and understanding. What do you think this is? Christmas?

Lobby government. Lobby the Canadian Soccer Association. And if you can't get Santa to cough up an MLS team, demand that Yallop gets more time with his players.

Producing some of the world's best talent is basically a big, fat waste of time if they don't have the chance to flourish over here.

After all, there's only so many Owen Hargreaves a country ranked No. 90 in the world can afford to lose.

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While I'm in the grip of the Christmas spirit, it's time for another dig at my-life-is-a-car-wreck English soccer genius Paul Gascoigne.

Gazza, who now prefers to be known as G8 (don't ask), has been having a little trouble launching his ... er ... coaching career.

You see, it seems some other similarly brilliant and talented people came up with the same idea. And now he can't get a job.

"The problem is there are a lot of people in this work," G8 was quoted as saying on the Soccer 365 website.

There's always Canada, G8.

- - -

FIFA's World Player of the Year award finally went to the right man.

Ronaldinho is not just the popular winner, he's the deserved winner (even if he does play for a Spanish team).

So congratulations go out to our favourite buck-toothed Brazilian.

The silverware will definitely come in handy when his beloved Barcelona are booted out of the Champions League by Chelsea.


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