Kennedy hopes cameo will be a memorable one
Giant striker Josh Kennedy may only have a short role to play in these World Cup qualifiers, but he is hoping to make it a memorable one, if he gets on the park against Iraq on Saturday in Dubai (UAE).
Dubai: Giant striker Josh Kennedy may only have a short role to play in these World Cup qualifiers, but he is hoping to make it a memorable one, if he gets on the park against Iraq on Saturday in Dubai (UAE).
Injury and a heavily pregnant wife (Jacinta) have and will limit Kennedy-s impact on these matches. A goal in the opening match against Qatar is his only appearance so far, but on Saturday, a likely 20 minutes or so cameo role off the bench, will be his second and last of this phase of qualifying.
Jacinta (herself an international basketballer) is due to give birth to their second child late next week, which means he will miss the last two games of the series, having missed the second and third games because of injury, which he is only just recovered from.
The tall striker joined his fellow teammates at training last night and admitted he would not be able to play 90 minutes, but if asked to do a job at some stage on the night, he hopes to cause some mayhem.
Given Harry Kewell-s dominance in the air against the Iraqi-s in Brisbane, Kennedy would spell even more trouble, hence why coach Pim Verbeek was keen to have in camp this week.
Verbeek believes most Asian countries would struggle against Kennedy-s height and hopes that will prove to be the case on Saturday.
“That could be the possibility that the coach has sort of mentioned,” he said when asked if he would cause some mayhem with his height. “If I am fit; I can come off the bench in the last 20 minutes and if I can help the team and cause a few problems then that-s great.”
But first the Karlsruhe striker must prove his fitness and that he has overcome an ankle injury that kept him sidelined for the last four weeks of the Bundesliga season and the last two Socceroos games.
“Physically I-m almost 100% fit, but as in match fitness, I still have a long way to go to play 90 minutes.
However given the circumstances of his wife-s pregnancy and his injury concerns, the fact he is here shows how keen is to play for the national team.
"To be a starting player in the national team, that's always my goal," Kennedy said. "But with the circumstances now, I'm not ready to start. That's okay. But if I was fit, I'd have hoped to play the 90 minutes.”
“It-s pretty difficult, with the wife being pregnant and almost ready to give birth. I can't stay for much longer. I'm fit enough and ready to sit on the bench and if hopefully I can do my part and play 20 minutes than all the better."
If he gets onto the park on Saturday, Kennedy will no doubt be looking to show his potential once again and admits the last 5-6 weeks have been very frustrating for him.
“I was always planning to come for the first game (against Iraq last Sunday in Brisbane), but my ankle wasn-t ready and there wasn-t much point in making the trip back to Australia. I wasn-t even a chance to sit on the bench or play, that-s why we sort of waited and I am here now.”
“It-s frustrating that I didn-t play for the last 5-6 weeks to be fit enough to play in these games; that-s the worst thing. That-s football and a setback but I will get through it.”
The Socceroos will play Iraq on Saturday at 8pm (Sunday 2am). The match can be seen live on Fox Sports, while www.footballaustralia.com.au will have a full live update for those unable to view on Fox Sports.