Wanyama’s CF Montreal shift to Florida from Canada owing to Covid-19

The decision was made because of travel restrictions between the USA and Canada that started during the outbreak of Covid-19

Kenya international Victor Wanyama’s CF Montreal have confirmed they will now play their Major League Soccer matches for the upcoming campaign in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in the USA.

Montreal have always played their matches in Canada but the club has been forced to relocate to Florida owing to the travel restrictions between the US and Canada, which started at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic last year.

“I want to thank Inter Miami CF for welcoming us,” CF Montréal sporting director Olivier Renard said on Monday in a statement published on the club’s official website.

“Just like in New Jersey last year with the Red Bulls, we will have access to top infrastructures and favorable weather, which made us chose Florida.

“Once again, it will be a very special situation and we want our players to be in the best possible conditions before coming back to play in Montreal.

“We will do everything in our power to allow the players and the staff to be joined by their families so they can feel good while they are away from home.”

The statement further confirmed the team will continue to follow strict healthy and security protocols by stating: “Just like for the 2020 regular-season games, the team will follow strict health and security protocols, including Covid-19 screening testing on a regular basis.

“The possibility to play games in Montreal will be studied when there will be more developments regarding travel protocols, in relation with public health and government directives.”

Apart from shifting their base to Florida, Montreal will also start the new season under new coach Wilfried Nancy, who was appointed on Monday to replace Thierry Henry.

“We are very happy to announce Wilfried as our head coach today [Monday],” Renard.told the club’s official website after unveiling the new coach.

“After Thierry left, we decided to trust him and give him the opportunity to continue the work we started last season, with the same vision. It is also part of the club’s philosophy to consider and promote our own, as we did in the past for Jules Gueguen [fitness coach] and Maxime Chalier .”

On taking up the job, Nancy said: “I am very happy and proud to take on this new challenge. It’s even more special, since it’s with the Club I’ve known since I came to Montreal. I would like to thank Joey Saputo, Kevin Gilmore and Olivier Renard. I’m really excited for this challenge and hope to make the team progress as much as possible.”

Nancy, 43, has been an assistant coach with the first team since January 7, 2016. He was part of the coaching staff that won the Canadian Championship in 2019 and led the team to the MLS Cup playoffs in 2016 and 2020.

He was previously a coach at the club’s Academy, from its inception in 2011, where he successively held the head coaching role of the U18 team, from 2011 to 2013, the U21 team in 2014, and the U16 team in 2014 and 2015.

Before joining the club, Nancy coached at the AAA level in 2006 and 2007, then held the role of assistant technical director of the Association regionale de soccer de la Rive-Sud in 2008. He was also a coach with Quebec’s provincial teams from 2007.

Wanyama joined Montreal from Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur on March 3, 2020 and was a regular in the starting XI during Henry’s time at the helm.

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