Canada is in the same group with Sweden, South Africa and reigning world champions, Japan, in the opening round of the London Olympics women’s soccer tournament.
The national side will oppose the Japanese on July 25 and South Africa three days later at the City of Coventry Stadium before tackling the Swedes on July 31 at St. James’ Park in Newcastle.
“There is a bit of clarity now and that’s exciting,” said Canadian coach, John Herdman. “We can now start to focus on the technical blueprints and draw the route back from the gold medal game.”
Host country England has been drawn with Cameroon, Brazil and New Zealand while the last group comprises the United States, France, Colombia and North Korea.
The top two teams from each group plus two of the three third-place teams will advance to the quarter-finals on August 3.
TORONTO FC VS. MONTREAL IMPACT
And, three-time defending champions Toronto FC will meet the expansion Montreal Impact in the Amway Canadian soccer championship on May 2 in Montreal. The return game will be played a week later.
The winner will face the victor of the Vancouver Whitecaps/FC Edmonton fixture that will be played at the same time. The two top teams will meet on May 16 and 23 for the Voyageurs Cup and a berth in next season’s Confederation of North, Central American & Caribbean Associations of Soccer (CONCACAF) Champions League.
Toronto brushed aside Edmonton and Vancouver last year on its way to the regional club semi-finals before the local side was eliminated by Club Santos Laguna of Mexico.
Montreal, which won the title in 2008, is playing as a first division side for the first time, having being elevated to Major League Soccer (MLS) status.
And Ghana and Haiti have new coaches.
James Appiah, an assistant coach with Ghana’s national team for the past four years, takes over from Serbian Goran Stevanovic who was sacked last month after the West African team’s failure to reach the Africa Cup of Nations final. Appiah led the Under-23 side to victory in the 2011 All-Africa Games.
Appiah’s first task will be to prepare the team for a World Cup 2014 qualifying match against Lesotho at home in June.
Meanwhile, Shek Borkowski has been installed as the coach of the Haitian women’s team program. The Polish-born replaces Ronald Luxieux who led Haiti to a 1-2 record in the CONCACAF Olympics women’s qualifier in Vancouver in January.
Borkowski arrives in Haiti after two stints with FC Indiana of the Women’s Premier Soccer League in the United States. He also coached a women’s Russian team before his second stint with FC Indiana.
By RON FANFAIR