Today, Stephen Hart announced the 17 players who would be coming to Cyprus over the weekend for a couple of training sessions and then a friendly against Armenia. The friendly is set for February 29th and will be aired live on Sportsnet with coverage starting at 11:30 AM (EST) which probably means a few CMNT fans are already feeling a cold coming on.
The roster that Hart went with is very much the bare minimum and indicates that he probably had a bit of a hard time getting bodies in to the camp. Having already limited himself to trying to avoid calling in North American based players Hart was always going to face a bit of a challenge filling out the roster.
The group that he ended up with does include two players who are officially based in North America in Nana Attakora who spent last season with the San Jose Earthquakes, but is currently without a club, (trialling with Scottish side Hibernian is the last place I remember hearing of him), as well as Toronto FC's Julian De Guzman. The rest of the roster is highlighted by the top European based players available including Premiership striker Simeon Jackson, the recently recovered Atiba Hutchinson, and Josh Simpson who looks to put his winter transfer drama behind him. The core of this team is similar to what Hart will be calling come June along with the North American based players, but there are certainly a few surprising faces.
More comment and the full squad after the jump
The recall of Pedro Pacheco, while not really being a surprise, is of note. He has been on the edge of the squad for World Cup qualifiers after being in the squad for the 2011 Gold Cup. This match will be important for Pacheco if he has any hopes of getting a regular look at the national squad for this next round of play. The real surprise comes in the form of Hart calling Samuel Piette who is a bit of an unknown to many fans. If you do not know who he is do not feel too bad as Peitte is just 17 years old and currently plays in the youth setup at FC Metz. Piette was a member of the under 17 World Cup squad this past summer and was one of the better performers in that team. He is listed as a midfielder and a right back but chances are that Hart will be looking at him as a midfielder with their being so few other options in the squad.
The team that Hart has called will certainly be in for a stiff test against Armenia but with so many regular members of the National team included it will certainly be much more than a meaningless exercise. It will give the team another chance to train together and show the coach what they have to offer and all that will help with the tough games ahead this year.
1- GK- Milan Borjan | TUR / Sivasspor
2- FB- Nik Ledgerwood | GER / SV Wehen Wiesbaden
3- FB- Mike Klukowski | TUR / Manisaspor
4- CB- Kevin McKenna | GER / FC Köln
5- CB- Adam Straith | GER / FC Energie Cottbus
6- M- Julian de Guzman | CAN / Toronto FC
7- F- Iain Hume | ENG / Preston North End FC
8- M- Pedro Pacheco | POR / CD Santa Clara
9- F- Tosaint Ricketts | ROM / FC Politehnica Timişoara
10- F- Simeon Jackson | ENG / Norwich City FC
11- M- Josh Simpson | SUI / Berner Sport Club Young Boys
12- CB- Nana Attakora | USA / San Jose Earthquakes
13- M- Atiba Hutchinson | NED / PSV Eindhoven
14- M/RB- Samuel Piette | FRA / FC Metz
15- CB- David Edgar | ENG / Burnley FC
17- F- Marcus Haber | SCO / St. Johnstone FC
22- GK- Kenny Stamatopoulos | SWE / AIK Fotbol