Canada fighting for respect with Gold Cup run

first_imgJohn Herdman couldn’t help but smile. It was seemed to be a moment, in a way, he’d been waiting for. Not the moment, but a moment, one where it appeared what he was trying to build with Canada was starting to take shape.It didn’t happen in a match or even on a field, but in a press conference room in the bowels of Bank of America Stadium as Canada prepared for the country’s third and final group stage match of the Gold Cup. They’d just lost a tight 3-1 battle to Mexico days prior.”We lost, but we learned,” Herdman said, a familiar trope. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? But it was what defender Doneil Henry said that resonated just as much, if not more, than the performances thus far this Gold Cup. It felt like it mattered just as much as the 7-0 shellacking of Cuba that soon followed or the 4-0 smashing of Martinique that preceded it. “We end this path with respect, especially in Concacaf, changing the face of football in our country forever,” Henry sat up and stated with conviction. “My journey with the national team started at 18-19 years old when I got called into my first camp. The sense of professionalism maybe, the pressure to win [wasn’t there]. Now we have players playing at their clubs, top-level football, young signings who are exciting around the world.”We want to really take this seriously and put our country on the map for men’s football. I know what it’s like to play in Europe, and they look at a Canadian player as less than a footballer. My job is to help our country and leave this jersey in a better place when I’m done with the national team, knowing I was a part of changing the culture here.”One of the first conversations I had with John was about what the culture was like before, and I couldn’t tell him because we didn’t have a real mentality or anything that you would want to know about Canadian football. Right now, we know what we have here in this country and this is a great time and a great place to start showcasing what we can bring to international football.”Moments later, Herdman responded: “I think that’s what I envisioned, that someone could speak that passionately and clearly about why they wear that jersey. I’m not sure I’ve heard that before.”Canada Gold Cup 2019For the past several years, there wasn’t much reason to take pride in the performances of Canada’s men’s national team. They’ve been to the World Cup just once, in 1986. Since winning the Gold Cup in 2000, they’ve made it out of the group stage just four times in nine chances. Herdman’s predecessor, Octavio Zambrano, lasted less than one year on the job, leaving behind a program scrambling for some kind, any kind, of identity.Enter Herdman, who took the job in January 2018. He’d moved on to the men’s team after a seven-year stint with Canada’s women’s squad, widely regarded as one of the top programs in the world. He was given total control, from the senior men’s team and all national youth sides from the under-14 level.From the offset, his goal has been to build a culture, and that building process has coincided with rise of some of the top young stars in the country’s history. There’s Alphonso Davies, who made the move to Bayern Munich last year. There’s Jonathan David, who joined Lucas Cavallini in netting hat-tricks against Cuba. There are MLS stars like Mark-Anthony Kaye and Jonathan Osorio and European-based attackers like Junior Hoilett and Cyle Larin.The players are there, and they have talent, but the idea of hosting World Cup 2026 hangs over everyone’s head. All that’s needed is a plan, and Herdman believes moments like Henry’s statement and the ongoing Gold Cup run are pieces of a big puzzle that ends with one thing: respectability.”This isn’t just a day-by-day or tournament-by-tournament. We’re looking at 2026,” he said. “My federation made a commitment which was an eight-year contract. That’s the reality. When I signed for the project, you know as a coach that it’s fickle, and if I’m not the right man, then I’m not the right man, but I’m working my ass off and my staff are connecting this country.”We’ve been in every MLS club, every province, I’ve worked with every U15 player in the country. We’re doing things a little bit differently where we’re connecting our country in a way so that if I eject out tomorrow, I’ll know I’ve done something a little bit different and left it a little better than I found it.”Canada Gold CupThat path continues on with the Gold Cup. Canada’s victory over Cuba sends the team to the knockout stages, where they’ll face either Costa Rica or Haiti in the quarterfinal round. It’s a match that presents a benchmark for Canada. It also presents a chance to earn another look at Mexico, and Henry says Canada will “make it right” if they get another crack at El Tri.Knockout round success is the next step. If Canada ever hopes to catch up to the likes of the USA, Mexico or Costa Rica, or even teams like Panama and Jamaica, they’ll have to prove it in these types of situations. This is how you prepare for World Cup qualifying and this is how you earn respect on the international stage.Is the 2019 Gold Cup too soon for Canada? Maybe. Is there more work to be done before Canada can truly count themselves as a legitimate threat in Concacaf? Almost certainly. But Herdman says there is a level of belief in this program that better days are ahead, and they may not be as far away as many think.”I wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning if I didn’t believe that was possible. We just take it every game at a time. We work back from the final, and we’ve done our planning to see the USA in Chicago. That’s what a coach has to do. I have to look that far ahead and work back from that moment. It’s just a game at a time now.”He added: “If we are ever going to catch up or overtake Mexico or the USA, it’s got to mean more to us than them when we get into those big moments. A lot of people are clear on the meaning, and that really does galvanize the group. There have been some tough moments where we haven’t been able to cross that cavern, we just haven’t been able to cross that in the past. That’s clear, and we’ve got the talent, so there are no excuses any more.”last_img read more

Feature UN findings flag violence abuse of older women accused of witchcraft

Throughout history, women described as witches have been persecuted, tortured and murdered.According to an upcoming UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) report on aging, citing civil society organizations, that practice continues today.Witchcraft accusations that are used to justify extreme violence against older women are reported in 41 African and Asian countries, including Burkina Faso, Cameroon, India, Kenya, Malawi, Nepal and Tanzania. Older widows are often those most at risk.Older women are at particular risk due to widespread discriminatory attitudes and practices, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in his message on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. I call on Member States to enact and enforce stronger laws and strategies to address all aspects of this under-acknowledged social, public health and human rights issue.The UN General Assembly, in its resolution 66/127, designated June 15 as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. It represents the one day in the year when the whole world voices its opposition to the abuse and suffering inflicted to some of our older generations.The main forms used for categorizing abuse of older persons include: neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse and financial abuse or exploitation.But there is no clear picture of the actual scope of the neglect, violence and abuse of older women, its complexity and diversity, UN DESA has said. The UN World Health Organization (WHO) says that abuse is under-reported by as much as 80 percent.A UN working group on ageing has been established by the General Assembly aimed at strengthening protection of human rights of older persons, but experts on elderly abuse have stressed the need for define what constitutes abuse of older women.The global population of people aged 60 years and older is expected to more than double, from 542 million in 1995 to about 1.2 billion in 2025. The share of older persons (aged 60 years or older) in the total population increased from 9 per cent in 1994 to 12 per cent in 2014, and is expected to reach 21 per cent by 2050.And the incidence of abuse towards older people is predicted to increase as many countries are experiencing rapidly ageing populations.Barbara Crossette, former New York Times Bureau chief of the United Nations who moderated a key panel discussion during a UN population conference at UN headquarters two months ago drew attention to the fact that gender-based violence is now taking the form of so-called elder abuse, especially of women who are living longer than men.The time is fast approaching when a more focused institutional response will be necessary certainly for women, who are already the least able globally to cope with the hardships of old age and most in need of societal support, Ms. Crossette said. read more