Canadian Exports: Occean banned, Gold Cup in question
The Canadian national team will be without forward Olivier Occean for next month’s friendly against Japan after FIFA announced on Monday that the Eintracht Frankfurt forward has been suspended for six games stemming from an incident in World Cup qualifying last October.
In that match against Cuba at Toronto's BMO Field, the 31-year-old Occean was given a straight red card after getting into a scuffle with two Cuban players after Canada scored their second goal in a 3-0 win.
After Will Johnson scored in the 73rd minute, he went to retrieve the ball that was held by Cuban goalkeeper Odelin Molina. Occean ran over and shoved Molina before being pushed in retaliation by another Cuban player. In the end, Occean was the only player disciplined.
In FIFA's ruling, soccer's international governing body said Occean was guilty of “committing an act of unsporting conduct, displaying several acts of unsporting behavior and using offensive language towards match officials.”
The ban applies to any senior international games — including friendlies — so Occean has served half the suspension already. He already sat out Canada’s 8-1 loss to Honduras in October with the red card and wasn’t in the squad for their games against Denmark and the United States last month.
Canada's only scheduled game before the Gold Cup is the March 22 friendly against Japan in Qatar. If the Canadian Soccer Association doesn't line up any more games, Occean will also be suspended for their first two games of this summer’s CONCACAF tournament.
Occean was also fined 7,500 Swiss Francs.