TORONTO (AP)Canada has added a exhibition at Bahrain on Nov. 11 as part of its World Cup preparations.
The 41st-ranked Canadians will play No. 85 Bahrain in Manama ahead of a previously scheduled game Nov. 17 against 24th-ranked Japan at Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Many Europe-based players have club matches on Nov. 12 and 13 but Major League Soccer players will be available for the game at Bahrain. Toronto, the team of Jonathan Osorio, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Richie Laryea and Doneil Henry, last played Oct. 9.
”There’s fitness and then there’s football fitness,” Canada coach John Herdman said Thursday. ”They’re two different things. So match rhythm and match intensity is absolutely critical to being ready to go up against the teams that we have to go up against.
”This game against Bahrain certainly gives those players that have been out of season or struggling to get game time in their club settings an opportunity to come in, gain some solid international minutes, knowing that for some of them it’s like a preseason. It’s an important game for us. Really important for those players that need that additional experience before we play Japan.”
Players are to report to camp in Bahrain on Nov. 4 or 5.
Preparing for its first World Cup since 1986, Canada opens Group F of the World Cup against No. 2 Belgium on Nov. 23, faces 12th-ranked Croatia four days later and closes group play against No. 22 Morocco on Dec. 1.
Osorio, dealing with post-concussion syndrome, has played just 18 minutes since an Aug. 20 start against Miami. Captain Atiba Hutchinson is training again after a bone bruise sustained in preseason with Turkey’s Besiktas. Midfielder David Wotherspoon of Scotland’s St Johnstone is back in action after 10 months out following knee surgery.
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