Mirror-Guardian: Lions Eye Stars From Ghana

Soccer Lions eye stars from Ghana

Sam Laskaris, Mirror Sports
May. 5, 2002

Scarborough's newest professional soccer club is hoping to bring some big league talent to town.

The Metro Lions, an expansion franchise in the Canadian Professional Soccer League (CPSL), is hoping it can soon announce some major acquisitions.

Mutale Chanda, Lions chief executive officer, said his side is hoping to bring over four players from Ghana's national team.

Chanda said those players have been cleared by their respective club teams to come to North America and suit up for the Lions. But Chanda added so far Canadian immigration officials have not granted visas to the players. "This is a big problem for us," Chanda said, adding the club will continue its battle to bring the players to Canada.

The Lions, who will play their home contests at Birchmount Stadium, begin their regular season on June 8 in Oshawa against the Durham Flames.

The Lions will compete in the 14-team CPSL and have a 20-game regular season schedule.

Despite being an expansion franchise, Chanda doesn't anticipate the Lions having many growing pains. And that's even if the four Ghana players don't make it to Canada "I think we'll win the whole thing whether they come or not," he said. "But of course we want them here as well."

The Lions are allowed to sign a maximum of five imports. The team has inked a deal for one such player, forward Eddy Silverberg, who has toiled in Israel's pro league.

The club will be coached by Roberto Cabral, a coach with Lille, a franchise in France's Premier Division. Cabral has agreed to a one-year coaching stint with the Lions since they have formed an affiliation with Lille. The French pro team, which will sponsor the Lions this season, has already sent 50 home and 50 away jerseys to be utilized by the local players this season.

Cabral is expected to arrive from France today. The club has been staging its training camp in recent weeks under Tony Laferrera, who is the Lions technical director and co-coach.

"I'm just trying to put a group of decent players together for (Cabral) for when he arrives," Laferrera said.

While the Lions CEO is confidently predicting a championship for the Lions this season, Laferrera is more reserved in his predictions.

And he's a bit upset the CPSL didn't have an expansion draft to stock the Lions as well as a new expansion franchise in Hamilton.

He would have wanted to see each established club give up two of its players to the Lions and the Hamilton club. "We have to start from nothing. And all the good players are playing somewhere else."

Laferrera said the Lions would instantly become if the four players from Ghana arrived.

"There's going to be trouble for everybody if they come," he said.

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