Begovic Opts for Bosnia

September 13, 2009 at 6:04 am | Posted in General Football | 1 Comment

Another Loss for Canada.  Having been raised in the Canadian youth system, promising young keeper Asmir Begovic has decided to play for the country where he was born, Bosnia and Herzegovina.  While some have harshly criticized him, I am sure Portsmouth put heavy pressure on him to play for B&H.  Younger players from smaller countries have to fight tooth and nail to play for their national teams, because their club coaches would rather they didn’t.  Club coaches hate to lose players, and especially hate it when they come back from international duty injured.

B&H is also still in contention for the World Cup in 2010, while Canada was ingloriously dumped from the competition long ago.  If Begovic gets to stay in the B&H squad, his trips to internationals will be short, rather than the long haul trips to play in CONCACAF qualifying.  He will play under the quality referees in Europe as well. The other factor is that national identities in the Balkans run very deep indeed.  I’ll bet his parents wanted him to play for the old country too.  Don’t forget they fled the brutal Balkan wars to come to Canada.

When you look at these factors, I really can’t be angry with the guy.  I am sad to see him go.  If you look at the list of players who have opted to go elsewhere, including Owen Hargreaves, Begovic and De Guzman the second, one can only wonder whether we would have eventually qualified for a World Cup if they had stayed.

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  1. He was mentioned in an article recently on ESPNSoccernet. As a Serbian, but hey, what’s research for anyway.

    What a shame for Canada. I read on Wikipedia that as recent as July he stated he wanted to play for Canada, in an interview with Team 1040 or Fan 590 or Teamsports Radio 101 or something. One can’t help but wonder what might have been, or what could be, if we just didn’t live so damn far away from Europe, or if the MLS was a bit more appealing to young players.


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