Marie-Yasmine Alidou’s omission from Canada’s CONCACAF W Gold Cup roster raised many eyebrows among those who keep up with CanWNT stars at club level. Well, we took an unfortunate route, but we got there in the end.
The prolific Benfica goalscorer has been called into the squad as the first replacement for injured full-back Jayde Riviere.
Riviere has been very unfortunate with injuries lately, having already missed several CanWNT camps, and she was substituted after little more than half an hour of Manchester United’s 2-0 win over Brighton on February 4. She has not been fit enough to be included in the Red Devils’ squad since then, and she’s now had to pull out of national team duty too.
It’s a huge shame for the 23-year-old, particularly in an Olympic year.
But, while one door closes for Riviere, another opens for Alidou.
The Benfica attacking midfielder had been left out of the initial 23-player squad due to what Priestman described as an assortment of attacking riches to choose from. Alidou is a midfielder by trade (and has been listed as a midfielder on the updated roster list) but has been playing further forward in Portugal this season to great effect.
“I had an agreement with Mimi that she needs to be assessed in the position that she’s playing in at her club, and as you can see in this 23 [-player CanWNT squad], there’s a lot of players in that front-three position,” Priestman told Canadian media on Wednesday. “… It’s just the overall depth in that front line and what she’s doing versus the players that we have in. We’re obviously tracking Mimi and if she comes in with us it’s going to be in that position with a backup role in midfield, based on the way we’ve been playing.”
And, after scoring her 21st goal of the season for the Lisbon giants this weekend, Alidou has now been given the call as first reserve. Although it comes in unfortunate circumstances with Riviere’s absence limiting the full-back specialist ranks to Ashley Lawrence and Sydney Collins, and it’s not even remotely a like-for-like replacement, you’d have to say it’s only what Alidou deserves.
Canada kick off their W Gold Cup group stage campaign on February 22 against an opponent that will be determined when the preliminary rounds finish up on February 17.