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Pacific FC coach blasts Canada Soccer over delay in Canadian Championship semifinal versus TFC

Pacific FC head coach Pa-Modou Kah said he believes Canada Soccer is catering more to Major League Soccer than the Canadian Premier League when it comes to the Canadian Championship.

Pacific FC head coach Pa-Modou Kah said he believes Canada Soccer is catering more to Major League Soccer than the Canadian Premier League when it comes to the Canadian Championship.

Canada Soccer will finally announce today the date and venue for the Canadian Championship semifinal between Island-based Pacific FC of the CPL and Toronto FC of MLS. But it already got an earful from Kah.

The originally set dates for the semifinals, when the Canadian Championship schedule was released in July, were Tuesday or today. That was later tentatively shifted to between Oct. 5 to Oct. 9, but Kah indicated that time frame won’t be happening.

“It was supposed to be Toronto in that window but somehow things got changed,” Kah told reporters in his media conference Tuesday, ahead of tonight’s CPL game against Valour FC at IG Field in Winnipeg.

“That window was reserved for the Canadian Championship. A lot of people are asking questions. They want to know. I don’t know what [Canada Soccer] is doing. That shows a little bit of amateurism. Cup games are set dates and everybody plays on that set date. I think people are looking maybe to help the bigger teams.”

Next week falls within the FIFA international window for 2022 World Cup qualifying when club teams are required to release players to their national teams. MLS clubs are far more affected by that than CPL teams. Toronto FC has six players who have been involved in earlier rounds of 2022 World Cup qualifying with their national teams, including Richie Laryea and Jonathan Osorio with Canada, Kemar Lawrence with Jamaica, Chris Mavinga with Republic of Congo, Eriq Zavaleta with El Salvador and Yeferson Soteldo for Venezuela.

“MLS teams have a roster of 30 players. You do have people to play the Cup game. Even if you do have internationals going away, it’s not like you can’t field a squad,” said Kah.

“So, who is [Canada Soccer] catering to and who do they want to cater to? This game was supposed to be played between Oct. 5 and Oct. 9. Toronto has international players. That’s not my problem. So why is [Canada Soccer] catering to them? It’s just the reality of it. Play the game. I find it a little bit strange we cannot play in this window if it is already set. There’s other little questions you have. What is the reason behind it?”

Kah continued his broadside.

“We have two CPL ­semifinalists against two MLS semifinalists [the other semifinal features Forge FC of CPL and CF Montreal of MLS]. But who are they catering to?” he said.

“Everywhere around the world where there’s Cup games, you just don’t change the venues and just don’t change the dates. It’s already set so why are we changing it? To cater to who? This was supposed to be done right after the [quarter-final round] on Sept. 22. It should have been announced on Sept. 23rd. We should not wait six days. To me, that shows [Canada Soccer] doesn’t know what it’s doing. We have to start being professional. This is purely amateur. We have to sit and wait because they want to cater to whoever they want to cater to. It’s laughable.”

Kah said an ideal situation is being fumbled.

“This is the best situation that could happen for Canadian football — two CPL teams against two MLS teams,” he said.

“Why wouldn’t you play it up? Who are you catering to? They will not come out and say it but everybody knows.”

CORNER KICKS: The CPL game today in Winnipeg between league-leading PFC (10-4-6) and sixth-place Valour (7-10-2) is at 4:45 p.m. PT. Rob Gale was recently fired as Valour FC head coach and GM and replaced by former Vancouver Whitecaps MLS assistant coach Phillip Dos Santos. Ironically, it was after losing to PFC in the opening round of the Canadian Championship last month that Dos Santos, and brother and Vancouver head coach Marc Dos Santos, were both fired by the Whitecaps. “That’s the other side of football,” said Kah. “We’re hired to get fired, unfortunately. Hopefully [Phillip Dos Santos] will bounce back in the CPL.”

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com