Men's side needs support

GARETH WHEELER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:02 AM ET

Performing well against the odds is becoming a trend.

Canadian soccer fans were treated to another quality performance by our national soccer team Saturday in a 3-2 loss to Brazil, the world's best side.

Sure, Brazil didn't have its full arsenal of superstars at its disposal, but time and time again it has shown it can win without being at full strength.

So give the Canadians credit -- they gave the five-time World Cup champions all they could handle, and were unlucky to come away on the losing end.

Despite the defensive mistakes, a lot of positives can be taken from their willingness to attack and play with the world's best.

This isn't anything new. Anchored by the midfield play of Dwayne De Rosario and Julian de Guzman, the team has put together a series of strong performances, dating back to the Gold Cup.

This is particularly encouraging heading into World Cup qualifying.

For the first time in our national side's history, its style of football is in line with that of the other CONCACAF nations. No longer is it reliant on the long ball and defend-at-all-costs mentality.

Canada's new breed has talent that far supersedes the teams of the past. So why, despite all the potential, is this team doomed to failure yet again? All signs point to the Canadian Soccer Association.

The lack of national coverage of Canada's match with Brazil is comical.

The neglect of our men's national team, which should be the centrepiece of the CSA's puzzle, must come to an end.

The players know their potential and are well aware they are being held back by the CSA.

Last week, De Rosario and de Guzman called out the CSA. Their point was simple: If they're going to achieve, their basic needs have to be met.

Regular international games and adequate funding fall well short of respectability. The team can't be expected to qualify for football's grandest stage without the proper funding.

So now is the time for the CSA to make a commitment. If it is sincere about ushering in a new era, it will take every step necessary to give the team a fighting chance to qualify.

Unfortunately, there is no evidence to support that it will.

AGE BEFORE BEAUTY

A makeshift Toronto FC squad pulled out a 2-0 win on Saturday, and it was encouraging that it featured Julius James.

The 23-year-old is exactly what the team needs -- young, quality players.

TFC has had an incredible turnaround from last season, but quite frankly, it's old.

Toronto's starting lineup regularly has featured seven players over the age of 30. In modern football terms, this veteran-laden lineup is relatively rare.

So far so good for TFC. The aging side has been sufficient for short-term results.

But in terms of the big picture, it doesn't make much sense having so many older players.

Since when does a second-year franchise put the present over the future?

Aside from Maurice Edu, Marvel Wynne, and possibly James, who else can the club point to as part of its long-term foundation?

If they are going to bring in players from abroad, it needs to be those who are in their mid-20s with experience playing at the top level and are looking for a chance to play regularly to upstart their careers in an emerging soccer setting.

The rumoured interest in 26-year-old Shola Ameobi would have fit the bill.

With rumours swirling linking TFC with other 30-something players, the team has to ask itself whether it is more important to win now or build something special for the future.

6+5=TERRIBLE

Following up on an earlier column, Sepp Blatter's pursuit of the 6+5 rule went a step further this week as FIFA unanimously approved his plan to limit foreign players in the domestic sides.

The 6+5 plan is a backward step for club football.

Professional teams should have no obligation to fulfill obligations to play domestic players.

A more reasonable concept to the 6+5 is UEFA's home-grown player rule that sets quotas for locally trained players at clubs, not based on nationality.


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