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Canada's long wait to get to Copa America continues after loss to Jamaica


After losing its CONCACAF Nations League quarterfinal to Jamaica on Tuesday, Canada's bid to qualify for the 2024 Copa America will have to wait until a play-in game in March.

The 45th-ranked Canadian men could have sealed the deal at BMO Field, but lost 3-2 on the night after a second-half collapse. Now Canada will have to beat No. 99 Trinidad and Tobago in March to qualify for Copa America.

It's not the first time that Canada's bid to get to the South America championship as a guest team has gone thwarted.

Canada was slated to take part in the 2001 Copa America as a reward for winning the Gold Cup in February 2000. But Canada Soccer decided not to attend less than a week before its scheduled start in Colombia.

Colombia's role as host country was called into question after a wave of urban bombings in May 2001 and the kidnapping of the vice-president of the Colombian Football Federation just weeks before the competition was set to kick off.

The tournament was slated to run from July 11 to 29 with Canada opening against Argentina on July 13 in Medellin.

CONMEBOL, the South American federation, announced July 1 that the tournament would be postponed to 2002 due to security concerns. But five days later, it decided to go ahead with the event in Colombia.

"In response to the decision to reinstate the Copa America tournament, the Canadian Soccer Association will not be able to participate," association president Jim Fleming said at the time.

"The preparation for the Canadian team was previously in place with a pre-tournament camp and a friendly with Panama arranged. On June 30, the CSA was informed of the postponement of the tournament until 2002. We respected this decision and accordingly cancelled our preparations and released our players to return to their clubs.

"At this time it would be impossible for us to regroup as our players are scattered across Europe with their clubs in various pre-season camps."

Costa Rica subsequently took the place of Canada, joining Mexico as a guest team at the 12-country tournament.

Argentina also pulled out, saying it had sent its players home after the tournament was initially cancelled. Honduras served as a late replacement.

The competition, played under heavy security, went on without incident.

Colombia hoisted the trophy, defeating Mexico 1-0 in the final. The Hondurans finished third, edging Uruguay in a penalty shootout.


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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 22, 2023