Chrisnovic N'sa has something to prove. The York United FC fullback was one of 11 Canadian Premier League players recently named to Canada's 50-man provisional roster for the upcoming Concacaf Olympic qualifying tournament in Mexico. Aside from being one of a handful of players on the list without any previous Canadian youth national team experience, N'sa is also one of three CPLers who weren't on coach Mauro Biello's pre-pandemic roster first unveiled last March, joining Cavalry FC's Mo Farsi and Forge FC's David Choinière as those who benefited from the 12-month delay. "I was surprised when I was included in that list because I never got a shot with Canada before," N'sa told CanPL.ca. "I was so excited, and so happy about it because here I can show Canada I have the talent to be a part of this team. "You got something to prove because they didn't call you before – you need to show them that they regret not bringing you in sooner because when the list came out last year [before the pandemic] and I wasn't on it, I was not happy about it."
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N'sa was a standout fullback for HFX Wanderers FC in 2020, emerging as one of the CPL's top young players and, in turn, earned a nomination for the Best Under-21 Player Award last fall. N'sa played in nine of HFX's 11 matches in PEI and 21 times in the Wanderers' first season, distinguishing himself by playing across all positions in defence, as well as in central midfield. His breakout campaign was hard to ignore for Biello: he won the second-most 1v1s among defenders in the league and finished third in the CPL in successful tackles (16), third in successful duels (59), and fourth in interceptions (17). Canada's 50-man roster will be pared down to 20 players no later than 10 days prior to the tournament, which begins on March 18. Concacaf rules stipulate all players must be born on or after 1 January 1997 are eligible to compete, although the actual Olympic competition allows for three overage players. N'sa has been training with his brother and fellow York teammate Felix in and around the Montreal area as he prepares for that call, which would send N'sa to Mexico in a short, whirlwind pre-tournament camp before kicking off Group B play on March 19 against El Salvador.
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"It's been good to get touches in, I've been taking care of myself," N'sa said. "That's why I think I'm ready for the call." Should any CPLers make the final roster and compete in this month's Olympic qualifying tournament, they will become the first players from the league to play for Canada in a competitive fixture at any level. "It's something good because we can tell the country that in the CPL is a major player," N'sa stated. "I don't think every CPL player is going to make the team but I hope a lot of us make it."