Canada prepares for first test under Floro

Gavin Day

OLIVA, Spain – After a week of training in relative isolation, the Benito Floro era is about to begin for the Canada.

The team had been going with two-a-day training sessions most of the week, but on the eve of its first game under the new coach, a solitary morning session was in order. But it wasn’t without incident as a spirited series of scrimmages with players being rotated in and out saw a number of crunching tackles going in.

“It’s been good having some of the younger guys out here and then getting used to the older, more experienced players,” said midfielder Atiba Hutchinson, who’s back in the squad after missing this summer’s Gold Cup. “It’s a good mix with a lot of young, talented players. It’s positive and I think it’s only a good thing for us.”

Floro is working on improving his English but needed a translator for some parts of the session. At the end of training, he told his players (in English) that he was happy with how all of them performed.

It’s a tall order taking over a team that crashed out of World Cup qualifying last year and has endured a difficult year in 2013. But with two years to go before World Cup qualifying resumes for 2018, rebuilding the psyche of the team is job one.

“The most important thing at this moment is to increase the confidence of the team,” Floro said after the session. He got his questions in advance so that he could practice how to answer in English.

Floro admitted he didn’t know much about Mauritania, the team Canada will be playing on Sunday and Tuesday, but from what he did see it's a fast team and has been improving over the past month.

The coaching staff was spending the afternoon on Saturday watching footage of Canada's opponent and also had a few moments to see Mauritania train as both teams are staying at the same resort and trained on adjoining fields Saturday morning.

“For us the game is training but it’s more serious because it’s important to win the game,” said Floro. “At the moment it’s important to win the game, but while doing what we’ve been working on all week.”

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