Access denied

Toronto FC coach Mo Johnston must wait and watch while Collin Samuel most likely will take his...

Toronto FC coach Mo Johnston must wait and watch while Collin Samuel most likely will take his offensive skills elsewhere. (Sun Media/Craig Robertson)

DEAN MCNULTY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:57 AM ET

Toronto FC finally won on the pitch in its inaugural Major League Soccer season but suffered a loss at the hands of Canada Customs and Immigration officials.

Two days after Toronto beat Chicago, coach Mo Johnston yesterday was set to announce the signing of Dundee United star Collin Samuel. But the 25-year-old striker was denied entry to Canada.

It was the third time immigration officials have thrown an obstacle at Johnston.

Previous TFC players who had to detour around road blocks at immigration were Abbe Ibrahim, from the West Africa nation of Togo and Danny Dichio, of England.

Both eventually were allowed to play, but for Samuel -- a native of Trinidad and Tobago -- it marked the end of his quest to don the red shirt for TFC.

"We had the blessing of his club (Dundee) and he was looking forward to playing here," Johnston said. "I'm really disappointed that immigration won't let another player in."

Johnston said he could not explain why Canadian immigration officials have taken such a hard stand in this case.

"He was just denied entry, which I don't understand," Johnston said.

"He's married to a British girl. Aren't we all supposed to be part of the Commonwealth? I could have got him into America easier."

Now Johnston must wait and watch while Samuel most likely will take his offensive skills -- he was Dundee's leading scorer last season -- to another MLS club.

"There are six or seven (MLS) teams after him, but we were first on board," Johnston said. "We invited him here to see the game (against Houston Dynamo tomorrow at BMO Field) to see the atmosphere. It would have been an ideal situation."

Johnston got a second dose of bad news on the international front yesterday when New Zealand national coach Ricki Herbert recalled TFC defender Andrew Boyens for pre-World Cup qualifying matches against Wales on May 26 and again on June 6 against Ukraine.

The coach was none too happy to hear he would be losing his rookie defender for two weeks of friendlies.

"I don't have a comment right now," Johnston said. "I'll deal with it when it happens."

As for Boyens, he said he was happy to be asked to play for his country.

"It's always an honour to play on the national side," Boyens said. "This will be an audition for me to make the team when qualifying starts for real in the fall."


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