Local League Gets Boost With Socceroo Call Ups
The local game received a boost today with two NSL players selected in the Socceroo team after Frank Farina announced Parramatta Power pair Simon Colosimo and Ahmad Elrich in his squad to take on Venezuela next Wednesday (Thursday AEST).
By Ben Coonan and David Cooper The local game received a boost today with two NSL players selected in the Socceroo team after Frank Farina announced Parramatta Power pair Simon Colosimo (pictured right) and Ahmad Elrich in his squad to take on Venezuela next Wednesday (Thursday AEST). It will be the first time any players from the NSL have earned a spot in a full strength Socceroo lineup since the World Cup play-off matches against Uruguay when Melbourne Knights defender Steve Horvat was part of the squad. The call up is just reward for Colosimo who has battled hard to recapture the form that had him earmarked as one of Australia-s brightest prospects before Andy Cole-s fateful tackle during Manchester United-s visit in 1999. “He-s a good player,” Farina stated bluntly when asked of Colosimo-s selection. “He-s playing well and he deserves his chance.” An aspect of Colosimo-s game that Farina finds particularly pleasing is his versatility. “I-m looking at Simon in the centre of midfield,” said Farina. “But he-s also versatile, last time I had him in my team I had him at right back.” Colosimo was delighted to be back in the senior team, his last appearance being in April 2001 when he was a member of the squad that racked up 66 goals in the 2002 World Cup qualifiers at Coffs Harbour. “It-s been a long time,” said Colosimo from today-s teleconference. “It-s a great opportunity for me and a great opportunity for the NSL. “To be considered and to be on the same piece of paper as the rest of the squad is an honour.” Elrich is the other home based player, another worthy selection given his impressive showings in the recent Olympic Games Qualifiers and for Parramatta. “He-s understudy to one of the best right sided players in the world,” said Farina, speaking of course of Brett Emerton, the Socceroos first choice right midfielder. “But he-ll learn a lot.” The Power speedster is the only Under 23 in the squad, a sure testament to his stellar performances last month. “It-s a dream come true,” said Elrich. “To get the opportunity is unbelievable, I-m looking forward to the experience and just to meet the boys, train with them and learn from them.” Elrich was quick to point out the benefits the NSL has received as a result of his, and Colosimo-s selection. “There-s some quality players in the NSL,” said Elrich. “By getting picked, its shown that Frank will pick players from the NSL. “It-s s great buzz for the NSL.” Meanwhile Farina refuted claims by a Sydney newspaper this morning that said both Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka would not make the trip. “I think he (journalist) is on the mark in terms of Harry-s ankle, but in terms of the players coming, all indications thus far are they will all be there.” “I-d expect him to play a big part, not just half a game,” when asked whether the injury would restrict Kewell-s game time. As for Viduka, Farina said “I wouldn-t have named him in the squad if I didn-t expect him to be there. ” “At the end of the day we are not going to get too many opportunities to go to South America, so it is an important one for us to go and do well in.” In other news, the Australian Soccer Association is pleased to announce that SBS will show the much-anticipated clash with Venezuela live and exclusive to Australian viewers. As expected Socceroo captain Paul Okon was not selected and when asked who would get the captain-s armband, Farina said no decision would be made until everyone was in camp. The match will be broadcast LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on SBS on Thursday 19th February at 9.30am and for those that will not be able to see it live a full replay will on later that night at 10.00pm. There will also be a live match update on www.australiansoccer.com.au from 9.30am.