SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras – Canadian national team captain Kevin McKenna doesn’t want Tuesday to be his international swansong.
The veteran defender has suggested that Canada’s run at the 2014 World Cup will be his last in a Canadian shirt, and with the Canucks on the verge of the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the World Cup for the first time in 16 years, it wouldn’t be a bad way for him to cap off his colorful career. He’s marshalled the backline for years, spent the 2005 Gold Cup at forward and done just about everything that’s asked of him in between.
“I get goosebumps talking about it,” said McKenna after Monday’s training session ahead of Tuesday's crucial World Cup qualifier vs. Honduras (4 pm ET, Sportsnet). “It’s going to be emotional and I hope it keeps going, that’s for sure.”
It’s also going to be pressure-packed. A win or a draw in Honduras, and the Canadians go through to the Hexagonal. A loss, and they are through.
“We’re on edge and every game seems to get that little bit more,” he said. “You’re getting closer and closer every game becomes bigger and bigger and we have the chance and we’re looking forward to it.”
McKenna inherited the captain’s armband for the 2011 Gold Cup when previous captain Paul Stalteri wasn’t included on the roster. Though often quiet when talking with the media, McKenna has been the most enthusiastic when his team has celebrated its three wins in the third round of CONCACAF qualifying thus far.
The 32-year-old is one of a number of players in their final go at a World Cup berth for Canada, as it’s likely that Ante Jazic and Dwayne De Rosario – to name just two – won’t be around in four years’ time. It’s a defining moment for a generation of players who hasn’t made a final round of qualifying in their entire careers.
“It’s going to be fantastic,” McKenna said. “It is the biggest game of my career and I hope it turns out good. We’re playing well and they have to beat us, and I think we have players that can hurt them too, so I think it makes for an exciting game.”