Canadian men’s soccer team will be armed with symbolic sword when it goes to Qatar for the World Cup

Canadian men's soccer team will be armed with symbolic sword when it goes to Qatar for the World Cup
This photo released on Monday by Costa Rica's Finance Ministry shows the sword that belongs to Canada's national soccer team after it was seized at the San José International Airport in Costa Rica. (Costa Rica Finance Ministry via The Associated Press)

The Canadian men’s soccer team is going to the World Cup and it will be armed this November in Qatar.

John Herdman’s team travels with a sword these days.

“The sword’s something that symbolizes ‘New Canada,”’ Herdman explained after Sunday’s 4-0 win over Jamaica that secured the Canadian men’s first trip to the soccer showcase since Mexico ’86.

“I said to these boys (that) we’ve always had a shield. But we created a sword and on the sword, it says ‘Nihil timendum est,’ which is ‘Fear Nothing’ (in Latin). And that’s New Canada. That’s the swagger we want to play with. And it goes in into every stadium to symbolize we’ll own their ground and be New Canada.”

That tradition was derailed somewhat during last week’s trip to Central America to face Costa Rica. La Nacion, a Costa Rican newspaper, reported that customs officials had seized the sword upon the Canadian team’s arrival by charter due to “regulations that govern the type of weapons that can enter our country.”

The newspaper ran a photo of the sword, a long two-handed weapon nestled in a black carrying case with a red interior. On the handle are the words Qatar 2022.

Without the sword, the Canadians saw their 17-game unbeaten streak in CONCACAF qualifying end in a 1-0 loss to Costa Rica. Canada played with 10 men for two-thirds of Thursday’s match after midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye was sent off for a second yellow card.

But there was a happy ending.

“We’ve got it. We got it back. It was in that turf (Saturday),” a happy Herdman said of the sword after Sunday’s win, pointing to the BMO Field playing surface.

The team had kept the existence of the sword to itself. Jason deVos, Canada Soccer’s director of development and a member of Herdman’s coaching staff, demurred when asked about it Sunday.

“I can’t talk about that. You’ll have to ask (Herdman),” the former Canada captain said with a chuckle.

Armed with their sword, the Canadians raised their qualifying record over three rounds to 14-1-4 with one game remaining — Wednesday in Panama.

Neil Davidson via the Canadian Press.


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