Partons, la mer est belle;
Guidons notre nacelle,
Ramons avec ardeur.
Aux mâts hissons les voiles,
Le ciel est pur et beau,
Je vois briller l’étoile
Qui guide les matelots!
One thing that binds French and English Canada is a seafaring heritage. It’s why, even though I grew up in a very landlocked part of Northern Ontario, I know countless songs about sailing, and as we stand at the beginning of Canada’s newest voyage towards World Cup qualification, the song above came to mind.
Loosely translated, it sings:
Let us depart the sea is calm:
Fishermen, get on board.
Let’s guide our vessel
and row with gusto.
To the masts we hoist our sails,
The sky is pure and beautiful,
I see shining brightly
The star that guides all sailors!
Let’s face it; Dominica is not likely to trouble Canada in this first part of the journey. Canada has participated in this round of qualifying before and run rampant over countries like Belize, St. Lucia and St. Kitts. This home and away round should be without incident – you just hope everyone comes out of it healthy.
Speaking of which, one player who won’t be able to participate in the matches against Dominica just happens to be our best player: Atiba Hutchinson. After breaking our hearts by re-signing with Besiktas last week, Atiba injured his leg in training and pulled out of the matches. Let’s all take a deep breath and relax though, since he’ll be needed to a much greater level next month for the Gold Cup.
The other issue for fans of the Canadian Men’s team is access. Sportsnet and the CSA recently confirmed that they had parted ways, and that the Dominica matches would not be seen on broadcast television. We are left to hope that Dominica’s stadium has a strong enough internet connection for the CSA to setup its streaming broadcast through intrepid reporter Gavin Day. It’s disappointing that in an age where we have a dozen sports channels, when the game is as popular as it’s ever been in this country, World Cup qualifying matches are not seen as worth the trouble. We don’t have access to the bottom line, so it’s hard to criticize Sportsnet for making the decision to dump the CMNT. It’s possible they’ve lost money hand over fist broadcasting the men’s matches, but only Sportsnet and the CSA know for sure.
When you add the fact that CONCACAF threw the CMNT under the bus by scheduling its first qualifying match the same night as the CWNT face New Zealand in the actual World Cup, you come to the conclusion that this column is a whole lot of whining about where we are.
And we shouldn’t be whining. Tesho Akindele is about to make his CMNT debut, Cyle Larin is bringing his young MLS goalscoring pedigree to the team, and Will Johnson returns. In other words, the sky is pure and beautiful, the sea is calm and our men’s national team is about to row with gusto and trounce Dominica (we just won’t get to see it on TV).
Photo courtesy of Joshua Pearson on Flickr.