Alphonso Davies will miss Canada’s next three World Cup qualifying matches, with his Bundesliga team saying the soccer star shows signs of inflammation of the heart muscle following a bout of COVID-19.
The 21-year-old, who also plays for Bayern Munich in the German league, was ruled out after the club found signs of mild myocarditis.
Canada Soccer confirmed in a statement Friday that Davies, who is from Edmonton, would be out. It also told CBC Sports the roster for its upcoming games would be announced late next week.
Canada is scheduled to play World Cup qualifiers in Honduras (Jan. 27), at home in Hamilton (Jan. 30) and in El Salvador (Feb. 2).
Club teams are required to release players in official FIFA windows, such as the upcoming qualifiers, except in the case of injury.
Bayern manager Julian Nagelsmann told a pre-match news conference Friday that the problem was detected in the followup examination that all players who have had COVID-19 undergo.
“He’ll sit out training until further notice. He won’t be available, also, in the coming weeks,” said Nagelsmann, speaking in German. “The ultrasound shows this myocarditis isn’t so dramatic, but it’s a sign of myocarditis. Still, it has to heal and that will definitely take some time.”
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Myocarditis is a mild, temporary condition in the vast majority of cases, according to experts.
Nagelsmann said it’s hard to tell if the myocarditis was due to COVID.
“There are different reasons, especially viral load or the flu, for instance, that can cause cardiac problems,” he said through an interpreter.
Other players have had myocarditis before coronavirus, Nagelsmann said, but noted it wasn’t really relevant to the team how Davies contracted it or to how it would be treated.
“It doesn’t matter if Alphonso Davies had this from the flu or Omicron, Delta, or whatever. That’s not really the decisive factor,” he said. “The situation is that it’s absolutely awful, terrible. What can I say? A bad situation for us.”
Bayern said last week that Davies had tested positive and was feeling well while isolating at home. He was one of six team players who returned to training Wednesday after bouts of COVID-19.
Nagelsmann said Davies would now stop training until further notice to give his body time to recover. Bayern plays Cologne on Saturday.
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Canada currently tops World Cup qualifier
Davies has won 35 caps for Canada, registering 10 goals and 15 assists.
Viewed as one of the finest left backs in the world, due to his pace and attacking flair, Davies plays in a more offensive position for Canada.
The Canadian men, bidding to qualify for the World Cup for only the second time ever, currently top the final round of qualifying in CONCACAF, the soccer confederation covering North and Central America and the Caribbean, with a 4-0-4 record. They have six games remaining.
Come March, the top three teams in the eight-team round robin will represent North and Central America and the Caribbean at Qatar 2022.
The fourth-place team will take on an Oceania country in an intercontinental playoff to see who joins them.
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