No picture of Bouchiba exists in my database, so instead enjoy this picture of Nick 'nine lives' Soolsma, the longest surviving of Aron Winter's European experiments.
Toronto FC announced today that they have waived Elbekay Bouchiba, just days before the season gets going. Bouchiba of course, despite being with the club for over a year, never actually got to play a competitve match for them, after spending all last year injured and rehabbing a torn ACL. Now that he's fit enough to play half a pre-season match, he's apparently fit enough to be released. With Javier Martina and Mikael Yourassowsky both long gone as well, that leaves Nick Soolsma as the only one of the mediocre set of Europeans brought in in the 2011 pre-season by Aron Winter to remain with the club.
This obviously creates an extra roster spot and an extra international spot for TFC to play with, as well as freeing up salary cap space (Bouchiba made $92,004 last year according to the players union) and given the depth TFC have in midfied, with Matt Stinson showing last year he could be a dependable backup player, it's obviously thought that all those things could be put to better use elsewhere. Bouchiba was used as a Left Back in the game against the University of South Florida a week or so ago, and that remains an area to be strengthened, as does Centre Forward, as seen by the insertion of Soolsma there when Danny Koevermans went down with Ryan Johnson away.
There's a few academy kids, draft picks and trialists currently with the squad who remain unsigned, so maybe that's what this move is creating space for. As for Bouchiba, I guess we'll never get the chance to see if he was a diamond hidden in the rough of the Qatari league just waiting to recapture the early form that saw him play in the Eridivisie when he was younger, or if he was just another not quite good enough player whose European heritage made him just too expensive to keep in a salary cap world.