Melbourne Heart FC defender Curtis Good has been named to represent the Qantas Young Socceroos at the AFC U-22 Championship qualifying tournament in Indonesia next month.
Although the upcoming tournament is for U-22 players, Football Federation Australia took the decision to field the Qantas Young Socceroos (U-20 players) in the competition as part of their preparations for the AFC U-19 Championship which will be held in the United Arab Emirates in November, which will also serve as the qualifiers for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup which will be held in Turkey next June/July.
The delay of the start of tournament from the originally scheduled date of 23 June has presented a number of headaches for Head Coach Paul Okon, in particular to the availability of overseas based players, but he is optimistic about his team’s chances.
“Our recent training camp in Brisbane was very positive and gave us a good indication on the level of the players,” said Okon.
“We were planning on having more overseas-based players in the squad, but with the tournament start postponed by two weeks most of the players that we were considering already had to return to their respective clubs to commence pre-season training.
“This tournament will be a tough challenge for the boys with five matches to be played in ten days.
“Fitness will be a key factor in dealing with the frequency of matches and the hot and humid conditions we will encounter in Indonesia.
“We will also be playing against players who are possibly two years older than most of our players so the experience and benefits that we will gain from this tournament will be doubled,” concluded Okon.
The Qantas Young Socceroos will assemble in Sydney on Sunday 1 July before departing for Indonesia on Monday 2 July.
The Qantas Young Socceroos will play five matches in ten days against fellow Group E nations Indonesia (5 July), Macau (7 July), Singapore (10 July), Timor Leste (12 July) and Japan (15 July).
The top two teams from Group E and the best third placed team of all groups (total 15) will then progress to the AFC U-22 Championship which will be played in January 2014.