Josh Lemos (pictured) was a key player for Canada at the 2016 CONCACAF Futsal Championship. (Photo: Mexsport)
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – After falling behind 5-1 to Cuba in its Group B finale at the 2016 CONCACAF Futsal Championship, Canada staged a furious comeback, cutting the deficit to one goal with less than five minutes left on the clock.
The Caribbean champion would strike twice more, ultimately winning 7-4 and leapfrogging over the Canadians into second place in the standings. Once table-topping Costa Rica defeated Curacao later in the evening, Cuba’s places in the CFC semifinals and the 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup were confirmed.
Although clearly disappointed by what had transpired at BN Arena, goalkeeper Josh Lemos was proud to be a member of a Canadian squad that achieved more any other on the international futsal stage.
“I’m thankful for the guys that were picked. I’m thankful for the coaching staff because they gave us the opportunity to be here,” the 27-year-old said. “We’ve shown the world that we’re not so little in the sport anymore. We have made progression, a large, large amount of it.”
Canada made its CFC debut in 2012, losing each of its three games by the combined score of 18-10.
In Costa Rica, though, the North Americans carried a more confident look. They got past the United States, 9-7 on aggregate, in a North American qualifying playoff last week, and then opened the CFC with a narrow 3-2 loss to host and defending champion Costa Rica.
Undaunted, Canada bounced back with a 7-4 win over Curacao for its first-ever CFC victory.
Cuba proved to be the obstacle that would end the Futsal World Cup dream.
“We came out with the same game plan (against Cuba) that we always come out with,” commented Lemos. “Unfortunately, it just didn’t work the way it has been working lately. It wasn’t our day. We did the best we could.”
Although the day came to an end, Canada’s futsal future appears bright and Lemos wants to be part of the continuing process.
“I’m just going to keep going, keep making strides forward,” he finished. “The sky’s the limit. I want to push as much as I can for the sport in Canada. We showed the improvement and we’re not done yet.
“We’re going to come back again. We don’t give up.”