OTTAWA — Canada Basketball and Canadian Soccer Association officials shocked onlookers today when they swapped national team coaches*. Leo Rautins will take over the national soccer team, while former soccer coach Dale Mitchell moves over to roundball.
Both men were in charge of their former teams during a time of continuing failure. The soccer team miserably crashed out of World Cup qualifying, while the basketball team watched the Olympics at home.
Canada Basketball officials said that the move was made after talking with their counterparts at the CSA. They indicated that it was a case of "shifting problems."
"We can't fire people," a soccer official that would not give his name said. "That would be mean. And, the provinces wouldn't like it. So, this will work. It should shut the fans up for a while anyway."
After failing to take the national basketball team to the Olympics, Rautins said that he was surprised by the move.
"In most countries you aren't rewarded for failure," the former journeyman NBA player said. "I mean, I alienated my only true big and NBA player and we were never a factor at the last chance qualifier. I would have fired me, but I guess this is a fair way of dealing with it."
He stressed his pride in this country.
"Only in Canada, eh?"
Mitchell too was surprised. However, he lashed out at the move.
"How dare they move me to basketball," he said. "I played in the World Cup. And, I'm Canadian. Do you know how few Canadians can say that?"
Exhausted fans of both sports reacted with indifference.
"Oh, I give up," said Jeremy Thompkins of Regina. "It's not like it can get worse."
Halifax's Sarah Llywellyn tried to stay upbeat.
"I wasn't even born in 1986," she said. "So, it's not like I know what I'm missing."
* or something like that anyway