Results the issue for CSA, players

GARETH WHEELER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:51 AM ET

Things are quiet -- a little too quiet.

Like a good horror movie, the silence from the Canadian Soccer Association is eerie.

It has been nearly three weeks since Canada's nondescript 3-0 loss in Kingston, Jamaica, concluded its disappointing World Cup qualifying campaign -- not that you would have noticed with the game not being televised in Canada.

Talk about going out without a bang.

Now, instead of sweeping changes coming from the CSA, which is how most other countries react after a massive letdown, nothing has happened.

So, it is meeting time for the CSA executive and the future of Canadian men's national team head coach Dale Mitchell has to be on the top of the docket.

It's actually quite shocking that a move to replace Mitchell wasn't made during the faltering campaign itself. Swift and decisive action to relieve Mitchell of his duties seemed, and seems, like a logical first step at retooling the program.

But as always with the CSA, extracting any kind of change has taken way too long. This kind of indecision continues to work against the beleaguered flagship organization for soccer in this country.

As for the Mitchell situation, media and supporters have been fed the line: "Everything is being reviewed".

Well, what exactly needs to be reviewed?

The team failed (going 0-4-2 in World Cup qualifying), players have spoken out, and the standard of play just isn't good enough.

When speaking to CSA general secretary Peter Montopoli, he made it clear that the decision on the coach is one that needs to go through more of an approval process than other decisions made by the CSA.

Therein lies the problem.

Getting the executive and the provincial associations on board to make changes is a massive hindrance to progress.

The CSA power structure has proven itself to be a failure. It's clear that a centralized system of governance needs to be in place for decisions to be made in a decisive way.

This process is something Montopoli, who has been General Secretary since only last spring, says can be changed. According to Montopoli, a new governance model is something that should be looked at if it is decided that things are not working.

Note to the CSA: Things are not working.

It's time the provinces acknowledge a separation of powers and interests are not conducive to winning as one entity.

The only question is: How long will it take to come to this realization?

This week another player spoke out against the CSA.

This time, goalkeeper Greg Sutton took his shots, saying: "We didn't play up to our potential, because if we did play to our potential, we would have probably qualified for the next round".

Sutton's comments are not surprising, adding to the list of players who find the CSA a convenient scapegoat for the on-field failures.

This isn't to say the CSA is free of blame -- that's far from the case. But personal accountability also is needed.

Wouldn't it be refreshing to hear the players take responsibility for their lacklustre performances?

Regardless of how much or how little they were supported, the players underachieved, and they have nobody to blame but themselves.

It's not the CSA's fault the Canadian midfield, widely acknowledged as one of the strongest in CONCACAF, didn't make any kind of tangible impact. It's not the CSA's fault defensive mistakes were made, leaving Canada exposed. It's not the CSA's fault Pat Onstad put the ball into his own net, costing Canada an opening-night win. It's not the CSA's fault that it took until Canada's second game against Mexico, after it already had been eliminated, for the team to play with any desire to compete and/or demonstrate any offensive prowess.

What the players need to understand is the only way to get more money flowing into the program is by getting results.

If the CSA is looking for long-term success, it will invest in scouting and player development. For the players who are speaking out, if you bring the results, the money and support will come.


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