OLIVA, Spain – Officially in charge of a team that hasn’t won a game in almost an entire year, Benito Floro has a huge task ahead of him to bring the Canadian men's national team back into the conversation of global soccer.
Floro ran his team through a spirited training session here on Saturday as Canada prepare for Mauritania in the team’s first friendly with the new coach on Sunday (11:30 am ET), but given Canada’s struggles since the infamous 8-1 thrashing in Honduras almost a year ago, just where does he begin?
“At this moment it’s not a matter of change,” Floro said. “It’s to improve or increase the level of the offensive action and set-pieces because that is very important for the team. However, the most important thing at this moment is to increase the confidence of the team.”
Canada are certainly a team in need of a confidence boost. Winless in 2013, the team’s best results are a pair of ties under interim head coach Colin Miller.
They’ll play Mauritania twice in three days before breaking camp on Wednesday. Sunday will be the culmination of a week’s worth of work with a massive squad of more than 30 players.
“For us the game is training, but it’s more serious because it’s important to win the game,” Floro said. “After the game, we’re going to watch the video to find the best action that we did and to find what we didn’t do well. It’s a serious game, but it’s also a chance to show how we want to play.”
Floro admits that he doesn’t know too much about the West African opposition, but has gleaned bits of information from a few videos of the team and has had a few opportunities to see the team train while both teams stay in the same resort and use the same fields.
As Canada wrapped up their morning session on Saturday, Mauritania was taking the field for the first of two sessions.
“I know it’s a national team who is improving its level,” Floro said. “We are going to review two matches to prepare the formation for our players. The other information around this is it’s a pretty good team with a lot of speed and good intentions.”