Young socceroos land in city with Youth World Cup in mind
Kolkata, Oct 27 (UNI) The young Socceroos are here and with them a flavour of rugged Aussie football that they plan to display in their bid to secure a berth in the Youth World Cup next year.
Coach Ange Postecoglou, who took over the reins of the side in 2001, has stitched together a formidable team that has players playing in Europe to some rubbing shoulders in the top Australian domestic soccer league.
''We have always been associated with cricket in India. We also never thought of playing football here. This will be a great learning experience,'' Ange Postecoglou said at the team's practice session.
Backed by Frank Lowy, the second richest man in Australia after Kerry Packer, with a fortune of 4.9 billion Australian Dollars, the Aussie team has grown steadily with successive World Cup appearances. Now their inclusion in the AFC meant an urgency to leave an impression.
This means the team needs to have more grind and guts and sweat it out to qulaify for the World Cup from the Aisan circuit.
In the Oceania group they needed to compete in a play-off match against a Latin Amerian team.
Agne is taking it very positively, ''Our inclusion in the Asian team means we get to play stronger opponents and that will certainly improve our standard. Ever since we played world cup a lot more boys are taking to soccer.'' ''We would like to do well in this tournament as this our first major meet after being included in the AFC. We would like to qualify for the Youth World cup,'' he said.
As a boost the senior team coach Graham Arnold will be here to watch the junior side play. ''The coach of the senior team Grahanm Arnold will be here on November three to see us playing UAE. If we are there till the end, he will stay,'' Agne added.
This Aussie side has players like David Williams who plays for Brondby, Denmark and Kaz Patafta, a midfielder who plays for Benfica. There are five others, who play the highest tier in Australian domestic league.
There are six others who have been included in this group after having played the U-17 World Cup. They also won a four nations ASEAN U-20 chamopionship and also went for exposure trips to Chile and Argentina.
Many current or former Socceroos have appeared for the Australian U-20 national team (Young Socceroos) since the first qualifying campaign for the 1979 FIFA World Youth Championship. Many stars of the recent World Cup such as Craig Moore (1993), Mark Viduka (1995), Lucas Neill (1997) and Marco Bresciano (1999) all got their first taste of international competition with the Young Socceroos.
Australian youth team has impressed at world level reaching the semifinals on two occasions (1991 and 1993) and the knockout stage on seven occasions. Only Brazil has made more championship appearances, with Australia ranked in the top ten by FIFA at youth level.
The current coach has prepared his team for a fourth World Championship qualifying campaign having overseen second round appearances in Argentina (2001), United Arab Emirates (2003) and a first round appearances in the Netherlands (2005).
Australia qualified for the AFC Youth Championship with wins over Sri Lanka and Turkmenistan and recently claimed the U-20 Asean Football Federation Championship with wins over Thailand, Vietnam and host nation Malaysia.
TEAM: Mitchell Langerak, Steven O'Dor, Peter Eleftherakis, Matthew Spiranovic, Shaun Ontong, Christopher Grossman, James Downey, Dario Vidosic, Bruce Djite, Nathan Burns, Evan Berger, Kaz Patafta, Troy Hearfield, David williams, Taren Elrich, Bradley Porter, Tando Velaphi, Sebastian Ryall, Michael Marrone, Aleksander Vrteski, Oliver Bozanic, Robbie Kruse, Benjamin Vidiac, Christopher Nunes, Watson Cameron, gregory King, Benjamin Kennedy, Ryan McGowan, Andrew Redmayne.
UNI BA PC PM BST1132