Qantas Young Socceroos Head Coach Paul Okon has selected a 23-player squad for the AFC U-22 Championship Qualifiers which will be played in Pekanbaru, Sumatra, Indonesia from 5 to 15 July 2012.
Seventeen members of the current squad have been drawn from the ranks of the Hyundai A-League clubs with two from the State League (NSW & SA), one player form the Australian Institute of Sport, one player un-contracted and two overseas based players in Giancarlo Gallifuoco (Tottenham Hotspur, England) and Aaron Lennox (Queen’s Park Rangers, England).
Terry Antonis and Jake Barker-Daish were both members of the Qantas Young Socceroos squad that went to last year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup, whilst Corey Brown, Connor Chapman, Mitch Cooper, Jesse Makarounas, Yianni Perkatis, Anthony Proia and Riley Woodcock were part of the Qantas Joeys that made the Round of 16 at the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico.
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 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.
Qantas Young Socceroos Squad for AFC U-22 Championship Qualifiers
Pekanbaru, Sumatra, Indonesia 5-15 July 2012
Name, Club, Country
Terry ANTONIS Sydney FC, Australia
Jake BARKER-DAISH Adelaide United, Australia
Josh BRILLANTE Newcastle Jets, Australia
Corey BROWN Brisbane Roar, Australia
Reece CAIRA Uncontracted
Connor CHAPMAN Newcastle Jets, Australia
Mitch COOPER Newcastle Jets, Australia
James DONACHIE Brisbane Roar, Australia
Jack DUNCAN (gk) Newcastle Jets, Australia
Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO Tottenham Hotspur, England
Ben GARUCCIO AIS, Australia
Nicholas FITZGERALD Brisbane Roar, Australia
Jason GERIA Brisbane Roar, Australia
Curtis GOOD Melbourne Heart, Australia
Aaron LENNOX (gk) Queen’s Park Rangers, England
Jesse MAKAROUNAS Perth Glory, Australia
Nick MUNRO (gk) Croydon Kings (SA State League), Australia
Brandon O’NEILL Perth Glory, Australia
Yianni PERKATIS Blacktown City (NSW Premier League) , Australia
Daniel PETKOVSKI Sydney FC, Australia
Anthony PROIA Brisbane Roar, Australia
Adam TAGGART Newcastle Jets, Australia
Riley WOODCOCK Perth Glory, Australia