Four days before the Canadian women’s national team’s penultimate game of the calendar year, injury has necessitated a shake-up of Bev Priestman’s squad.
Evelyne Viens is out, the Quebecois striker having suffered an unfortunate injury whilst playing for AS Roma last week in the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
In her place comes Latifah Abdu, a 22-year-old forward with French side Dijon, for her first senior call-up.
“With Evelyne out, it provides a good opportunity to assess Latifah in our environment,” said Priestman. “She has been part of our youth system in the past and has an interesting profile that is being tested week in, week out in France, and is someone we have had our eye on.”
Abdu, a Montréal native, has been performing well in her first full French Division 1 campaign, grabbing two goals and two assists for far this season. Dijon’s No. 9 has certainly cut the mustard so far in her breakout year.
Her only past representation for Canada came several years ago at the Under-17 level under then-youth coach Priestman.
Now, Abdu joins fellow first-time call-up Jeneva Hernandez-Gray in camp this week for the upcoming doubleheader of games vs. Australia in BC.
Related read: Who is first-time Canada call-up Jeneva Hernandez-Gray? The new CanWNT talent compared to Julia Grosso
Meanwhile, Julia Grosso will miss out along with Viens after suffering a sprained ankle for Juventus at the weekend. No direct replacement for Grosso has been called upon, but returning retiree Sophie Schmidt will now be available for selection for both BC games, not only Christine Sinclair’s CanWNT career finale at BC Place.
On the other side, Australia’s leading star Sam Kerr will not grace Canadian shores, as she is remaining behind at Chelsea for treatment for a foot injury.
Canada face a Kerr-less Australia on December 1 at Starlight Stadium and December 5 at BC Place, which is to be renamed Christine Sinclair Place for the occasion to mark the Canadian icon’s retirement from international soccer.