With the pre-Olympic qualifier set to begin next month on August 30 in Argentina, time is becoming more important day-by-day as teams are beginning the early stages of training camps and trying to get their entire roster intact.
Matt Bonner of the San Antonio Spurs is a player who wishes to play for the Canadian National team, but constant denial of Bonner’s citizenship from the Canadian government has upset (lfpress.com) Canada’s head coach Leo Rautins.
The fact Bonner, a former member of the Toronto Raptors and current forward with the San Antonio Spurs, has been unsuccessful in procuring his Canadian citizenship, despite getting the ball rolling back in 2008, upsets Rautins to no end.
“It’s very frustrating,” the head coach said on Tuesday, after a Team Canada practice at Ryerson University. “I see a lot of Canadians who are less Canadian than Matt Bonner. His daughter’s Canadian. His wife’s Canadian. His grandfather’s Canadian. He’s got a home here. When he’s not playing for the San Antonio Spurs, he’s here (in Toronto).”
The main stumbling block seems to be the fact that Bonner, a native of Concord, N.H., spends most of the year in the United States. But he has no choice. He plays for San Antonio.
Rautins and Bonner are optimistic that the government will see past the fact that he plays with the Spurs as his job and take notice that he wants to be a Canadian citizen. They hope he will be granted his citizenship before the the qualifier begins in Argentina.
If Bonner does get his citizenship, he could be the first to play with the Spurs’ young draftee Cory Joseph.
We’ll have to wait and see how everything plays out.