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Canada names roster for FIFA U-17 World Cup, still looking for first win at event


Entering its seventh FIFA U-17 World Cup, Canada is still looking for its first win after 14 losses and four draws.

The young Canadian men face a tough start Oct. 26 when they kick off the competition against host Brazil, a three-time champion whose record in 16 trips to the tournament is 53-18-11.

Brazil beat Canada 2-0 in their only other meeting at the tournament, in 1995.

"You can imagine Brazil brings a lot of technical quality, a lot of attacking flair and certainly some athleticism," said Canada coach Andrew Olivieri. "Some very talented players. Some boys on the verge of signing big contracts in Europe. So there's a lot of quality there.

"Playing them in the first match is probably the best time to play them," he added optimistically. "You hope to catch them maybe a little bit with the nerves, maybe catch them by surprise. Hopefully they're not as ready for us as they would be later in the tournament."

Canada will then face Angola on Oct. 29 and New Zealand on Nov. 1. All three matches will be played at the Estadio Bezerrao, 30 kilometres outside of the Brazilian capital of Brasilia.

Angola, a tournament debutante, finished in the top three in African qualifying. New Zealand is making its ninth trip to the tournament having advanced out of the group phase three times.

The 24-team tournament runs through Nov. 17

Olivieri named his 21-man roster Friday with Montreal Impact Academy defender Maxime Bourgeois and Cavalry FC winger Aribim Pepple the last two cuts.

Twenty of the players are with Canadian MLS club academies: eight from Toronto and six each from Montreal and Vancouver.

The Canadians have been training in Argentina since Oct. 11. They move to Brazil on Tuesday after a closed-door game Saturday with Mexico. On Wednesday they lost another closed-door session 2-1 to Argentina with Emiliano Brienza scoring for Canada with a left-footed shot from outside the box.

Canada failed to qualify for the 2015 and 2017 editions of the tournament.

The Canadians have never advanced out of group play. On the plus side, their four draws have come in their last two appearances.

In 2013 in the United Arab Emirates, they drew Austria and Iran and lost to Argentina, who went on to finish fourth. In 2011 in Mexico, they lost to eventual runner-up Uruguay before tying England and Rwanda.

Canada hosted the tournament in 1987. It also took part in 1989, 1993 and 1995.

The Canadians qualified for Brazil by beating Costa Rica 4-3 on penalty kicks after their quarterfinal ended in a 1-1 tie after regulation time at the CONCACAF U17 Championship in Bradenton, Fla., in May. Canada then lost 4-0 to the U.S. in the semifinals. 


Canada roster

Goalkeepers: Marc Kouadio, Montverde Academy (U.S); Eleias Himaras, Toronto FC Academy; Benjamin Collins, Montreal Impact Academy. 

Defenders: Kobe Franklin, Toronto FC Academy; Rohan Goulbourne, Toronto FC Academy; Gianfranco Facchineri, Vancouver Whitecaps Academy; Nathan Demian, Vancouver Whitecaps Academy; Deylen Vellios, Vancouver Whitecaps Academy; Keesean Ferdinand, Montreal Impact Academy; Emiliano Brienza, Vancouver Whitecaps Academy.

Midfielders: Damiano Pecile, Vancouver Whitecaps Academy; Ralph Priso-Mbongue, Toronto FC Academy; Tomas Giraldo, Montreal Impact Academy; Deandre Kerr, Toronto FC Academy; Sean Rea, Montreal Impact Academy; Julian Altobell, Toronto FC Academy.

Forwards: Kamron Habibullah, Vancouver Whitecaps Academy; Jacen Russell-Rowe, Toronto FC Academy; Matt Catavolo, Montreal Impact Academy; Jayden Nelson, Toronto FC Academy; Mouhamadou Kane, Montreal Impact Academy.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 18, 2019.


Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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