Why do Canada travel with a sword to matches after sealing World Cup 2022 qualification?

07:45 WAT 30/03/2022
Canada sword
The coach says the weapon represents "the swagger we want to play with" - and after they reached Qatar 2022, it seems to be working

Having qualified for the men's World Cup for the first time since 1986, it's fair to say Canada have more cutting edge these days - in more ways than one.

Canada, who topped the CONCACAF qualification standings to reach their first World Cup in 36 years, travel with a physical sword, engraved with the words "Qatar 2022" to every game.

Manager John Herdman revealed the team's totem after the 4-0 win over Jamaica that sealed passage to the tournament, and explained the reasons behind the symbol.

What has been said?

Herdman said: "The sword's something that symbolizes 'New Canada'. I said to these boys [that] we've always had a shield, but we created a sword and on the sword it says 'Nihil timendum est,' which is 'Fear Nothing' [in Latin].

"That's New Canada. That's the swagger we want to play with. It goes in into every stadium to symbolise we'll own their ground and be New Canada."

Armed and dangerous

While Canada have enjoyed smooth sailing on the pitch in the CONCACAF qualifiers, sealing their place at November's World Cup before continental powerhouses USA and Mexico, their mascot has had a rougher ride.

Last week, when they travelled to Costa Rica for a match, the sword was seized by airport customs, with pictures of the weapon revealed in national newspapers.

Without their lucky sword, Canada were beaten 1-0 - their only defeat in the final stage of CONCACAF qualifying so far.

However, it was returned to the team after they left central America, with Herdman revealing it was present at Sunday's historic win over Jamaica.

"We've got it. We got it back. It was in that turf [at BMO Field]," he said.

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