Injuries continue to hamper Canada coach Bev Priestman in her preparations for this summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Veteran defender Kadeisha Buchanan is the latest to be sidelined, missing out on Tuesday’s friendly with No. 5 France in Le Mans. The 27-year-old centre back, Canada’s anchor in the backline with 131 caps, has returned to Chelsea, her English club team, for further assessment on an injury sustained prior to the Canada camp.
“Looking at the bigger picture, she couldn’t get through what we needed her to get through,” Priestman said in a virtual availability Monday. “So for Kadeisha, I don’t think it’s a [missing the] World Cup injury but it’s not a ‘She’ll be ready this week” type injury either.
“It’s definitely going to need [to be] managed. She’ll have to go into the World Cup ramping up like some of the other players.”
The sixth-ranked Canadian women are already missing the injured Janine Beckie, Deanne Rose, Nichelle Prince, Desiree Scott and Quinn, who goes by one name.
Beckie will miss the World Cup following knee surgery but Priestman hopes the others will be ready for the July 20 start of the 32-team World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Rose and Prince are recovering from Achilles injuries while Scott picked up an injury at the end of the 2022 season that required surgery. Quinn is dealing with a leg issue.
Veteran centre back Shelina Zadorsky is recovering from illness, with Priestman opting not to call her into camp.
Priestman, who can call on Vanessa Gilles and Jade Rose to play centre back, looked for positives.
“There’s a massive opportunity for anybody who gets on the pitch. Are we light? Yes. You look down your bench and that’s depleted… But I think I have to look at the opportunity in it and see the bigger picture.”
“I’d love to have the core players that are missing and fingers crossed, other than what we know about Janine [Beckie], that they’ll be back,” she added.
The deadline to file the 23-woman rosters to FIFA is July 10. Priestman says she will wait until the last minute, which could mean bringing extra players to Australia for the pre-tournament camp ahead of the deadline.
“Regardless of who’s fit and unfit for the World Cup, beyond this World Cup we have a bright future,” said Priestman.