De Jong summoned for South Africa friendly
Globe and Mail Update
November 12, 2007 at 7:46 PM EST
Uncapped midfielder Marcel de Jong will make the jump to the Canadian senior soccer side this month, but there is still no word on Jonathan de Guzman, another talented Canadian with citizenship options.
On Monday, Canadian coach Dale Mitchell named de Jong in his 17-man squad for a friendly against South Africa in Durban on Nov. 20. The 21-year-old plays for Roda JC in the Netherlands.
As for de Guzman, England's Sun and Daily Mail newspapers have reported that Chelsea is lining up an eight-million-pound (C$15.9 million) offer in January — when the transfer window reopens — for the 20-year-old, who has been turning heads with Feyenoord in the Netherlands. The Sun said de Guzman had been personally recommended to billionaire Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich by veteran Dutch coach Piet de Visser.
The Sun says de Visser brought the likes of Salomon Kalou, Mikel John Obi and Brazil's Alex to Chelsea' attention.
De Guzman, whose older brother Julian plays midfield for Spain's Deportivo La Coruna and Canada, has been in the Feyenoord system since he was 12.
"It's totally in Jonathan's camp," Mitchell said Monday. "Obviously some good things are happening with his career. There are rumours that are circulating.
"Our status, I think, is unchanged. It's a decision for Jonathan and his family and his people to decide what's best for him. We're obviously very interested in his services if they would become available to us."
The lure of playing for the Netherlands, ranked seventh in the world and which has been home for some eight years, will be hard to resist.
De Jong, who has both Canadian and Dutch citizenship, played for Mitchell in the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup and has some 20 caps for Canada at youth levels. But he apparently still had the Dutch option, because of his tender age.
"He was in a situation where he could have changed, due to the FIFA regulations," Mitchell said. "He technically could still have chosen Holland, although I think he would have had to have done it by his 21st birthday."
De Jong, who turned 21 on Oct. 15, was invited to one of the Dutch youth team camp's last year.
"We're pleased he's committed now to us," Mitchell said
Mitchell tried to call up de Jong for the August Iceland friendly but it did not work out.
Midfielder Dwayne De Rosario and goalkeeper Pat Onstad are unavailable because of this weekend's MLS Cup. Mitchell elected not to call up other MLS players because most have been out of action for a few weeks.
"The other side of the equation is that I don't get to see the European-based players as much as guys over here and I'm still at a stage where I'm looking and considering a number of players. So this is a good opportunity for them, given all of those things, and also the travel involved (to South Africa) for a North American-based player."
The MLS exception is Toronto FC goalkeeper Kenny Stamatopoulos.
Striker Rob Friend (Borussia Moenchengladbach) and defender-midfielder Daniel Imhof (Bochum) are not in the squad because their German clubs wanted to keep them, Mitchell said.
Veterans on the roster for the South Africa game include defenders Paul Stalteri (Tottenham, England), and Kevin McKenna (FC Koln, Germany), midfielder Julian de Guzman and striker Tomaz Radzinski (Skoda Xanthi, Greece)
Canada is currently ranked 51st in the world, compared to No. 83 for South Africa, host of the 2010 World Cup.
Mitchell and Canadian team manager Morgan Quarry will remain in South Africa after the game for the Nov. 25 World Cup qualifying draw.
Mitchell expects Canada to open qualifying next June with a home-and-away playoff series with the winner advancing in August to the 12-team CONCACAF semifinals, which will be split into three pools of four. The top two from each group will advance to the final round of qualifying in North and Central America and the Caribbean.
The top three countries will earn a berth in the World Cup with the fourth-place team taking on the fifth-place finisher in South America to see who joins them.
South Africa is using the Canada match, plus a Nov. 17 game against the U.S. and Nov. 27 outing against Lesotho to fine-tune its roster for the coming African Cup of Nations.
Coach Carlos Albert Parreira has saved his stars for the U.S. game with striker Benni McCarthy (Blackburn, England) and midfielder Steven Pienaar (Everton, England) and defender-midfielder Aaron Mokoena (Blackburn) excused from the Canada game.
There are 12 non-domestic-based South Africa players for the U.S. game, but only four for the Canada match.
Lars Hirschfeld, Rosenborg (Norway), Edmonton; Mike Klukowski, Club Brugge (Belgium), Oshawa, Ont.; Andre Hainault, FK SIAD Most (Czech Republic), Hudson, Que.; Kevin McKenna, FC Koln (Germany), Calgary; Julian De Guzman, Deportivo La Coruna (Spain), Toronto; Paul Stalteri, Tottenham Hotspur (England), Brampton, Ont.; Marcel de Jong, Roda JC (Netherlands), Newmarket, Ont.; Tomasz Radzinski Skoda Xanthi (Greece), Toronto; Olivier Occean, Lillestrom (Norway), Brossard, Que.; Richard Hastings, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Vancouver; Issey Nakajima-Farran, FC Nordsjaelland (Denmark), Calgary; Atiba Hutchinson, FC Kopenhagen (Denmark), Brampton, Ont.; Josh Simpson, FC Kaiserslautern (Germany), Victoria, B.C.; Will Johnson, De Graafschap (Netherlands), Woodridge, Ill.; Iain Hume, Leicester City (England), Brampton, Ont.; Patrice Bernier, FC Kaiserslautern (Germany), Brossard, Que.; Kenny Stamatopoulos, Toronto FC (MLS), Markham, Ont.
Head Coach: Dale Mitchell.