Canada’s coach calls for more resources ahead of 2026 World Cup

John Herdman says Canada should aim to win next World Cup, which it will co-host, but team is ‘suffering financially’.

Canadian players, dressed in black, pose for team photo
Canada lost 2-0 to the United States in the CONCACAF Nations League final [Lucas Peltier/USA TODAY Sports via Reuters]

The Canada men’s national football team coach John Herdman has called for more resources from the country’s Soccer Association to raise the level of his squad ahead of the 2026 World Cup, which will be co-hosted by the North American country.

Speaking after his team’s 2-0 loss to the United States in the CONCACAF Nations League final on Sunday night, Herdman said Canada should be aiming to win the World Cup – a tall order for a country that made it to the tournament last year for the first time since 1986.

“We’ve got to figure this out financially,” he said. “We’ve got to get serious about winning a World Cup. When you play at home, you get a chance to win it.”

Canada, which is currently 47th in the FIFA ranking, has a guaranteed spot in the next World Cup as the co-host of the tournament along with the US and Mexico.

“We’ve brought a World Cup to our country, and we’re not serious about winning it,” Herdman said.

Canada crashed out of the group stage in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after losses to Belgium, Croatia and Morocco.

On Sunday, the Canadians lost 2-0 to the US – after first-half goals from Chris Richards and Folarin Balogun – missing out on the chance of winning their first trophy since the 2000 Gold Cup for the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF).

“You see how close that team is tonight,” Herdman said after the game. “Tactically we were there. Chances, shots we were there. The margins were so tight tonight, so tight. We’ve got to get real. We’ve got to get real and quick because these players, they deserve it. They deserve this shot. The country deserves it.”

He added that the team “has been suffering financially”.

The coach said Canada currently has its “best generation of players” with more coming, underscoring the emergence of 21-year-old midfielder Ismael Kone, who plays for the English Championship side Watford, and Celtic fullback Alistair Johnston amongst others.

“It’s coming. We’ve got to figure this out financially,” Herdman added.

Several Canadian players have been plying their trade in Europe’s top leagues at the highest level of the game in recent years, including Lille’s Jonathan David and Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies.

Herdman, who is English, previously coached Canada’s women’s football team, which is gearing up to participate in the World Cup in New Zealand and Australia next month.

The Canadian women’s team, which won a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, has also been demanding greater resources from the country’s football association for training, staffing and the same level of support as their male counterparts.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies