Gbeke joins Canada's squad

BOB MACKIN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:26 AM ET

Suspended Vancouver Whitecap Charles Gbeke could be gone until late July, but for a good reason.

The star striker was named to Canada's 23-man roster for the CONCACAF Gold Cup yesterday. His two-game ban for the June 12 on-field fight with teammate Wesley Charles expires Tuesday when the Caps visit the Cleveland City Stars.

Gbeke earned two caps last fall. He hopes to wear the red maple leaf jersey July 3 when Canada opens against Jamaica in Los Angeles. First round opponents also include El Salvador and Costa Rica. The final is July 26 in New York.

Canada's interim head coach Stephen Hart called Gbeke's suspension "unfortunate," but said the big Ivory Coast-born, Montreal-raised forward could be valuable offensively.

"It's a matter of trying to get the balance right," Hart said. "We were in a situation where we're not blessed with depth up front and Charles would give us something different."

Toronto FC star Dwayne De Rosario declined Hart's invitation while the Reds' captain Jim Brennan quit the national squad last fall. The roster includes Vancouver's Kevin Harmse, a Toronto FC defender and midfielder, and Prince George-born defender Richard Hastings, who plays in Inverness, Scotland.

Ex-Whitecaps' coach Tony Fonseca is Hart's assistant while goalkeeper coach Paul Dolan was a Vancouver 86ers' mainstay.


Videos

Photos