Bev Priestman, who led Canada to the top of the podium at the Tokyo Olympics, has been left off the list of final three nominees for The Best FIFA Women’s Coach.
Priestman was one of five nominees for the award announced in November. But she and Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson did not make the final cut announced Thursday.
The award will go to one of Spain’s Lluis Cortes (FC Barcelona), England’s Emma Hayes (Chelsea) and the Netherlands’ Sarina Wiegman (Dutch and English national teams).
The final three nominees for The Best FIFA Men’s Coach are Spain’s Pep Guardiola (Manchester City), Italy’s Roberto Mancini (Italian national team) and Germany’s Thomas Tuchel (Chelsea).
Priestman’s omission drew a tart response from Canadian men’s coach John Herdman on social media.
“Christine Sinclair scored a hat trick in the London 2012 OLY semifinal, finished top scorer, landed her country a first team sport medal since 1936 & not nominated for top 3 FIFA. Now, Bev lands the country a first GOLD Medal in Rio 2021 & doesn’t make the top 3. How???” Herdman, who was coach of the Canadian women when they won bronze at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, said on Twitter.
Some of Preistman’s players also expressed their disappointment online.
“Three incredible coaches, but it seems @bev_preistman was robbed here. What more does a national team coach have to do?” Sinclair tweeted.
“Extremely confused in not seeing @bev_preistman in this. Leading a team to a HISTORIC OLYMPIC GOLD, after only being put in charge 8 months before. Top of the international world stage,” Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe echoed on Twitter.
On Wednesday, Labbe was named as one of three finalists for The Best FIFA Women’s Goalkeeper.
Sinclair, who finished fifth in the running for the 2012 FIFA Women’s Player of the Year Award won by American Abby Wambach, is one of 13 nominees for The Best FIFA Women’s Player.
The three finalists for the best men’s and women’s players will be revealed Friday.
The award winners will be announced Jan. 17 in Zurich.
Canada went 9-3-5, including two Olympic shootout wins in 2021, which saw Priestman’s debut on the Canadian sidelines. The lone losses were to the U.S. and Brazil at the SheBelieves Cup in February — with Canada subsequently beating both in Tokyo — and to Mexico in the team’s penultimate game of the year.
The sixth-ranked Canadian women compiled a 12-game unbeaten streak (8-0-4 including the Olympic shootout wins) during the year.
The initial FIFA awards shortlists were selected by separate men’s and women’s soccer panels. The men’s panel included former Toronto FC coach Ryan Nelsen and goalkeeper Julio Cesar, among others.
The winners will be decided by an international jury comprising national team coaches and captains around the globe, one specialist journalist from each territory represented by a national team, and fans via an online poll on FIFA.com.
Labbe is up against Germany’s Ann-Katrin Berger (Chelsea) and Chile’s Christiane Endler (Paris Saint-Germain/Olympique Lyonnais) for top goalkeeper honours.
The 35-year-old from Stony Plain, Alta., who started the season with Sweden’s FC Rosengard before transferring to PSG, was a key cog in Canada’s golden run in Tokyo with penalty shootout wins over Brazil and Sweden. She has earned 85 caps for Canada, with 43 clean sheets.
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 6, 2021
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press