Zam­brano era set to start for Cana­dian men

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS -

Canada plays its first com­pet­i­tive game un­der Oc­tavio Zam­brano on Fri­day when it takes on French Guiana to open the 2017 Gold Cup.

More de­mand­ing group-phase games await against Costa Rica and Hon­duras, but Zam­brano is not about to take lightly the French ter­ri­tory nes­tled be­tween Brazil and Suri­name.

“They’re a good side,” the Ecuado­rian-born coach said on the eve of the game in Har­ri­son, N.J. “They have had to do some­thing good to be in this tour­na­ment ... They are, I would say, the same level as Cu­ra­cao. They have French play­ers with Caribbean roots whereas Cu­ra­cao has Dutch play­ers with Caribbean roots.

“They are all le­git­i­mate play­ers in the pro­fes­sional league in France and some lo­cal play­ers. But they’re a good side. I’ve seen them on video. They have a good team.”

The Cana­dian men beat 68th-ranked Cu­ra­cao 2-1 in a June 13 friendly in Mon­treal, Zam­brano’s first game in charge since tak­ing over the men’s pro­gram in March.

Canada scrim­maged against Nicaragua on Mon­day in Florida be­fore fly­ing to New Jersey.

“Even though the Cu­ra­cao game was a good test, it re­ally wasn’t enough,” said Zam­brano. “We needed an­other one.”

Zam­brano is ea­ger to see his play­ers un­der the Gold Cup spot­light.

“It is when you get the full mea­sure of how a player will re­act in cer­tain sit­u­a­tions,” he said.

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