Columbus Crew SC may have a week off before starting the Eastern Conference Finals, but four players will be staying busy with World Cup Qualifiers during the break while a fifth would have debuted if it weren't for injury.
Cedrick Mabwati, Harrison Afful, Kevan George, and Justin Meram will rejoin their national teams as qualifying for 2018 swings into high gear. Tony Tchani earned his first call-up to Cameroon, but injury forced him to pass on the opportunity.
Two players are heading to Africa to join up with their international teammates. Mabwati will join the Democratic Republic of Congo squad for a two leg series with Burundi on November 12th and 15th. Afful returns to the Ghanaian team as they face Comoros twice, November 13th and 17th as part of World Cup Qualifying. African teams are in second stage qualifying, a home and home series with the winner moving to the third round.
Fellow central African, Tchani earned a debut with Cameroon as they face Niger, but his recent leg injury will keep him in Columbus. The U.S. citizen was born in Bafang, Cameroon, but immigrated stateside over a decade ago. He became a naturalized citizen in 2013 and was eligible to join Cameroon or the United States. He won't be locked into an international side until he plays for either team.
Meram will travel to Taiwan in eastern Asia for Iraq's latest qualifier. The Iraqi National Team will face off against Chinese Taipai in second round Group F action. Iraq trails group leader Thailand and will be expecting to win against a team that currently has zero points.
Closer to Ohio, Kevan George was called up to Trinidad and Tobago's squad. They will face Guatemala on November 13th and host the United States on the 17th. The fourth round of CONCACAF Qualifying is just kicking off. Trinidad and Tobago and the U.S. were granted passes to this round due to their ranking the the federation.
The players might not miss game action with the bye this week, but there is extensive travel. Three of the players called up have to travel to different continents for their international games. Travel fatigue will be something head coach Gregg Berhalter and his staff will have to manage coming out of the break.
The full list of qualifiers and a map of qualifier locations is below.
|Player||National Team||Opponent||Location||Date and Time|
|Cedrick Mabwati||DR Congo||Burundi||Bujumbura, Burundi||Thurs. Nov. 12th - 8:30 AM|
|Harrison Afful||Ghana||Comoros||Mitsamiouli, Comoros||Fri. Nov. 13 - 7:00 AM|
|Tony Tchani||Cameroon||Niger||Niamey, Biger||Fri. Nov. 13 - 10:00 AM|
|Kevan George||Trinidad and Tobago||Guatemala||Guatemala City, Guatemala||Fri. Nov. 13 - 9:00 PM|
|Cedrick Mabwati||DR Congo||Burundi||Kinshasa, DR Congo||Sun. Nov. 15th - 9:30 AM|
|Justin Meram||Iraq||Chinese Taipei||Kaohsiung, Taiwan||Tues. Nov. 17th - 6:00 AM|
|Tony Tchani||Cameroon||Niger||Yaoundé, Cameroon||Tues. Nov. 17th - 9:00 AM|
|Harrison Afful||Ghana||Comoros||Kumasi, Ghana||Tues. Nov. 17th - 10:00 AM|
|Kevan George||Trinidad and Tobago||United States||Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago||Tues. Nov. 17th - 6:00 PM|
The Crew SC international contingent will be logging the frequent flyer miles.