Griffiths hopeful of big showing against Ghana
Pim Verbeek hasn’t revealed his starting side for the match against Ghana, but one player who already knows he is starting is reigning Hyundai A-League Player of the Year Joel Griffiths.
Pim Verbeek hasn-t revealed his starting side for the match against Ghana, but one player who already knows he is starting is reigning Hyundai A-League Player of the Year Joel Griffiths.
Griffiths, who was arguably the outstanding player last season and the catalyst for Newcastle Jets Championship success, finally gets his chance after missing out in March against Singapore and China.
At that stage there was much conjecture about why he missed out, but Verbeek has thrown the challenge open to Griffiths to lead the line against Ghana tonight and show that he can play a role in the World Cup qualifiers.
“I am very surprised, but it is a big occasion,” Joel said yesterday. “I-m looking forward to it; he-s given me a chance and I have got to try and take it with both hands and have a good game.”
As for what happened earlier in the year, Griffiths says he is over the disappointment of missing out then and keen to do well.
“I-m over that; I was disappointed for a day or so,” he said philosophically. “You know these things happen in football.
“Look where I am now; I have the chance to prove myself and I have just got to do the best I can.”
One thing that has definitely benefitted him in the off-season ahead of some of his other Hyundai A-League rivals is a loan move to Avispa Fukuoka in Japan.
“Yeh, definitely. I feel fit; feel good; feel sharp and obviously scoring as well. All goalscorers like to score going into a game like this.
“I am looking forward to the challenge in front of me and it-s up to me to grab it.”
He acknowledged it won-t be easy against the Ghanaians, who are ranked No.14 in the FIFA world rankings and made the semi finals of the African Nations Cup earlier this year.
“Ghana are a good side; they-re very physical and one of the best teams in Africa, so it-s a challenge not just for myself, but obviously a few of the other boys that are coming into the side.
“Hopefully we can get a good result and do our best for Australia.”
Obviously Griffiths will be hoping a strong performance tonight, will keep him in the frame for the World Cup qualifiers and if not he will rest and prepare for next years A-League season.
“I don-t know; we-ll just play this game first I think. I don-t think I will be going back to Japan, we-ll just what happens in the next couple of weeks, to see if I am in Pim-s plans or not and probably have a month off going into the new A-League season.”