Gbeke 'really happy' to be named to Canada's Gold Cup squad - The Province


BY MARC WEBER

After an in-game scuffle with a teammate last week, Charles Gbeke knew he faced punishment from his club.

The Vancouver Whitecaps forward was overjoyed to learn the penalty didn't extend to his country.

Gbeke will be part of Canada's squad for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which kicks off July 3 in the U.S.

The announcement of interim head coach Stephen Hart's side is expected this week.

"It's great news," said Gbeke, who along with defender Wesley Charles was fined an undisclosed amount and suspended two games after a confrontation at home to Miami FC.

"I was kind of nervous because of the stuff that happened and I'm really happy. It's an honour to represent Canada and I believe I can help the program."

Gbeke, born in Ivory Coast but raised in Montreal, has three caps for Canada. The 31-year-old target man started two World Cup qualifiers for Canada last year after they were eliminated from contention and several players returned to Europe.

"I'm a late bloomer," said Gbeke, who has four goals -- all headers -- in 14 games across all competitions for the Whitecaps this season. "The last two or three years have been nice. Coming to Vancouver, winning a championship, and things are getting better."

Canada opens Gold Cup play July 3 against Jamaica at the Home Depot Centre in Carson, Calif. Group A matches follow against El Salvador (July 7) and Costa Rica (July 10).

The Whitecaps have a break from June 24 to July 8 so the only USL-1 game Gbeke would miss for certain is July 9 at home to Minnesota. The July 12 game at Miami is also a possibility, and perhaps more if Canada advance.

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