Canada are ready to set sail for Argentina via Denmark with the 2016 IFCPF World Championship Qualification Tournament kicking off next in Vejen. Canada’s National Para Soccer Team will leave with a mission to qualify for the 2017 IFCPF World Championships.
“We believe we can be one of the best young teams in the world,” said Drew Ferguson, head coach of Canada Soccer’s National Para Soccer Team. “We want to take a step forward. Heading for Denmark, we are all very positive, very happy, and all ready to go.”
From 13 nations in Denmark, eight will qualify for next year’s 16-nation IFCPF World Championships in Argentina (with eight nations previously qualified in 2015). In Denmark, the top-two nations from each group will qualify for Argentina 2017.
“We have set a goal to win our group, but first or second place will qualify us for Argentina,” said Ferguson. “It will be hard because (from our group) hosts Denmark have been working hard and we believe Finland and Japan have improved since the last time we saw them. We can’t take anything for granted: we have to go there and play to our best potential, and if we do that, we should be just fine.”
Coach Ferguson, however, has been pleased with the Canadian program’s progress in 2016, most recently through a five-day camp in Toronto.
“We had a really good training camp at the KIA Training Centre in Toronto,” said Ferguson. “We’re still playing a bit with our starting line up, but we will finalise that in the first few days of training in Denmark. Liam (Stanley) and Sam (Charron) have been flying and they look solid. We also have Jamie (Ackinclose) back in the midfield, so we are pretty excited about our offensive side.”
From Canada’s 14-player roster, five players will have their official classification confirmed on(between CP-5 and CP-8). In seven-a-side Para Soccer, there must be at least one CP-5 player on the pitch at all times.
Following the opening ceremonies in the early afternoon of, Canada will face Denmark ( ), Finland ( ) and Japan ( ) in the group phase. All three matches will be streamed by tournament organisers, with the first two live (from Field 1) and the third match on delay (from Field 2).
Along with the #CanadaRED support from back home, the team in Denmark will have a few Canadian flags in the stands from family and friends that will travel to the Vejen.
“The players understand that this is a big event,” said Ferguson. “They understand that if we qualify, we’re off to the (IFCPF) World Championships in Argentina in 2017.”