Hart: Huge loss in Honduras 'was impossible for me to accept'

The former Canadian coach spoke to the media and explained his decision to step down as national team boss in the wake of Canada's elimination from World Cup qualifying.
A day after handing in his resignation as coach of the Canadian men's national team, Stephen Hart explained his decision.

"This is not like a league where you can redeem yourself the following Saturday or whatever," Hart said in a conference call on Friday. "Before every game, I always reminded the players that regardless of the outcome I want them to walk off the field with their dignity intact, and this freakish result was impossible for me to accept.

"Especially after completely outplaying the same opponent at home."

The 'freakish result' Hart referred to was Tuesday's horrific 8-1 loss in Honduras that eliminated Canada from World Cup qualification, despite the Canadians only needing a point in that match to advance to the final round of qualifying.

The former coach said that the nature of the loss left his position as national team boss untenable, but that he will always leave the door open to working with the Canadian Soccer Association in another role.

"If asked [by the CSA], I will continue to do so," he said. "I've always worked with the best interests of the game in Canada [at heart]. Understanding the soccer reality here, my approach has always been to do my little part rather than simply talk or moan about it."

One of the ways Hart is open to do his part is to work with the CSA to dissect what went wrong in a promising qualification campaign. The hope is that problems can be identified and avoided in the future, something the Trinidad and Tobago native seemed keen on assisting with.
"I told them I'm willing to do anything to help because this is something close to my heart," he said.

Hart has his own ideas about what Canada needs to do to succeed at the international level, and he pointed to a more unified infrastructre as a key area that needed to be worked on if his successors are to enjoy improved results.

"The best programs in the world have sort of a common thread," he explained. "There's always a working relationship for the common good of players and the game - between the federations, the associations and the professional clubs - so collectively we must ensure that this happens in an effort to improve the entire system."

The CSA has stated that it hopes to name Hart's replacement as soon as possible.