Team of Distinction - Canada's 1989 Francophone Games Team

2012 Canadas 1989 Francophone Games TeamOn July 22, 1989, the Canadian Men's National Team made soccer history by winning the first ever Francophone Games World Football Championships held in Morocco. Canada opened in Mohammedia by beating Burkino Faso 3-1 on goals by Nick Gilbert (2) and Rick Jasken. The second game also played in Mohammedia, against the Cote d'Ivoire, ended in a scoreless tie. This qualified Canada for a place in the semi-final in a game against the Congo in Casablanca. Canada won 2-1 in front of 20,000 fans with Domenic Mobilio and Nick Gilbert getting the goals. In the first two games Canada had Craig Forrest in goal, but when he was recalled by Ipswich Town, Shel Brodsgaard took over for the semi-final.

Now faced with a final against the powerful host nation, and with a number of players suffering from dysentery, the Canadians were given little chance of winning the gold medal. However, against all the odds, Canada won 4-1 on goals from Lyndon Hooper, Rick Jasken (2), and Kevin Holness. The team was coached by Bruce Twamley, with Francis Millien as his assistant, while Les Wilson was the manager and Rudy Gittens the busy team doctor. The Head of Delegation was Guy Burelle. In addition to his coaching duties, Francis Millien handled television coverage for Radio-Canada. Credit is also due to Jean Charest, then the Minister for Sport in the Federal government and now the Premier of Quebec, for his assistance.

The players who achieved one of the most notable results in Canadian soccer history were: Enco Concina (Captain), Carlo Corazzin, Rob Csabai, Patrick Diotte, Nick Gilbert, Peter Gilfillan, Kevin Holness, Lyndon Hooper, Rick Jasken, Domenic Mobilio, George Mrscic, Norm Odinga, Kevin Riley, Peter Sarantopoulos, John Paul Knezevic, Craig Forrest, Shel Brodsgaard and last, but not least Rob Merkyl, who kept goal in the final, in the absence of Forrest and Brodsgaard.