CanMNT's Benito Floro: If Canada qualify for Copa America, chances for 2018 World Cup improve
TORONTO – Canadian national head coach Benito Floro doesn’t just approve of the recently announced 2016 Copa América Centenario – he believes an intercontinental “American Cup” should be played regularly.
“Yes, I like it,” Floro told MLSsoccer.com earlier this week, when asked about the tournament. He added that he wouldn’t mind seeing “a short American Cup” played on a regular basis immediately following the other continental championships.
The Copa América Centenario will feature South America's 10 national teams along with six sides from CONCACAF, but Canada's chances of qualifying for the competition are lower than others.
Unlike the US and Mexico (automatic qualifiers) and Central American and Caribbean teams (who can qualify through their regional tournaments), Canada can only qualify for the competition through their performance at next summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup, and there are only two spots available.
Still, Floro says that wrinkle will affect his preparation and approach to the Gold Cup for the better.
"For us as coaches, it's very important to play a lot of games," he said, noting that planned training camps and friendlies during FIFA international dates this autumn will likely be his only chance to assemble a full roster in 2014. "We need to play official games. The Gold Cup is very important, because they are official games."
While qualifying for the Copa América Centenario would provide a boost of confidence for a struggling program, Floro believes it would also serve as a springboard for even bigger dreams.
"If we are able to qualify for the American Cup," said Floro, it will be better because our level of play – in regard to qualifying for [the 2018 World Cup] – just grows."