Macala pays respect to World Cup bound ‘roos
Bahrain coach Milan Macala has heaped praised on the Qantas Socceroos and offered congratulations to Pim Verbeek and his World Cup bound charges ahead of Wednesday’s qualifier at Stadium Australia.
SYDNEY: Bahrain coach Milan Macala has heaped praised on the Qantas Socceroos and offered congratulations to Pim Verbeek and his World Cup bound charges ahead of Wednesday-s qualifier at Stadium Australia.
Bahrain, unlucky to be beaten 1-0 by Australia at home in November last year, are one point away from having the chance to join Australia at next year-s showpiece in South Africa.
Should Bahrain secure that point against Australia on Wednesday, Macala will begin preparations for several months of sudden death playoffs, starting with a two-legged tie against Group B-s third placed team - certain to come from either DPR Korea, Saudi Arabia or Iran.
To do that, however, Bahrain will need to nullify an opponent that Macala rates as the ‘best team- from Group A and get past a goalkeeper, Mark Schwarzer, that Macala singled out as one of the best in Asia.
“We-re playing against the best team from our group and a team that hasn-t conceded one goal,” said Macala.
“They have one of the best goalkeepers in Asia, one of the best from England - Schwarzer from Fulham really is something extraordinary because during all qualification he did not concede one goal, which is good for the goalkeeper and good for the defence.
“For us it is an important game because Australian national team qualify to South Africa and from my position I would say congratulations to the players and the coach Pim Verbeek and also the supporters.”
It has been suggested that Verbeek may field a below-strength eleven on Wednesday night in light of Australia-s confirmed place in South Africa next year, with Lucas Neill one certainty to be absent after picking up his second caution of the current stage of qualifying in Doha at the weekend.
With the likes of David Carney, Scott McDonald and Luke Wilkshire - all regulars throughout the qualification process - non-starters in Doha, Verbeek could well be tempted to experiment with his starting eleven given the dead-rubber nature of the match from an Australian perspective.
However, Macala does not share the view that this will benefit Bahrain, instead suggesting that the Qantas Socceroos will be hungry to prove their quality in front of a large Stadium Australia attendance.
“I don-t know who will play because the Australian national team has qualified with many players that are playing in Europe, most of their competitions are over in Europe, but that are tired and they won this group, maybe coach will try other players,” said Macala.
“People might think that this is advantage but I don-t think so because many players are waiting for an opportunity to play and they want to show in front of a big crowd that they are good players.”