Farina Names Full Strength Squad
Australian coach Frank Farina has named a full strength starting eleven for the clash with South Africa on Tuesday night (Wednesday morning AEST) at Loftus Road in London.
Australian coach Frank Farina has named a full strength starting eleven for the clash with South Africa on Tuesday night (Wednesday morning AEST) at Loftus Road in London. Rangers central defender Craig Moore (pictured right) will again captain the side, with Paul Okon having to make do with a place on the bench. Okon, the Socceroo skipper since 1999, missed the last game against Venezuela in February after his recent move to Belgian club Oostende. The line-up will be: Mark Schwarzer (gk); Lucas Neill, Craig Moore (c), Tony Popovic, Stan Lazaridis, Brett Emerton, Mark Bresciano, Josip Skoko, Scott Chipperfield, Mark Viduka, Harry Kewell. It is the first game since England (February 2003), where Farina has had the luxury of selecting from a virtual full strength squad. The only Socceroo regulars over the past year missing from the squad are Empoli-s Vince Grella and Manchester City-s Danny Tiatto. Only six players from the starting side against Venezuela are in the run-on team for the South Africa game, with basically the defence intact and all the changes coming in midfield and attack. Returning for the Socceroos is Brett Emerton, Josip Skoko, Scott Chipperfield, Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka. The match marks another important step in the build up towards the OFC Nations Cup (2nd stage) in late May/June, that doubles as World Cup qualifiers. Australia will also play two matches against Turkey on the 21st and 24th of May.
Moore was the major injury concern for Farina leading up to the weekend-s round of club matches, but he came through a tough derby match against arch-rival Celtic on Sunday and was in camp later that night.
Farina put the players through some very light training sessions on Monday before announcing his squad later that night.
“At this stage of the season players are very fatigued and carrying little knocks, so it-s more, as per usual, just trying to freshen them up both physically and mentally,” Farina said from London.
Farina is wary of the South African-s despite a lot of new faces in their side that failed to progress past the first round of the recently held African Nations Cup.
“With the appointment of a new coach… although he doesn-t start until April, he will be in camp with them and that always tends to fire up players, especially if they-ve got something to prove.”
“It-s going to be a tough game, they-re a good side.” The game kicks off at 5.00am (AEST) on Wednesday morning with live television coverage of the game courtesy of SBS starting at 4.30am (AEST). Check local guides for details in other states. A link will also be provided on the Australian Soccer website - www.australiansoccer.com.au to a live web commentary of the game, if people are unable to the access TV coverage.