Qantas Under 23 squad named for Lebanon clash

Australia will field a strong 20-man squad when they face Lebanon in Beirut on October 17 for the next match of qualifying for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Australia will field a strong 20-man squad when they face Lebanon in Beirut on October 17 for the next match of qualifying for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Five players with overseas clubs feature in the squad including English-based quartet Adrian Leijer (Fulham), Trent McClenahan (Hereford United), James Troisi (Newcastle United) and Nick Ward (QPR), while David Williams of Danish club Brondby rounds out the foreign-based contingent.

A number of key Hyundai A-League players have also been selected including Qantas Under 23s skipper and Sydney FC defender Mark Milligan, Hyundai A-League top scorer Bruce Djite of Adelaide United, plus Djite's highly-rated team-mates Nathan Burns and Kristian Sarkies, the latter of whom is the top scorer in Asian Olympic qualifying with seven goals.

Central Coast Mariners central defender Nigel Boogaard will be looking to make his Qantas Under 23s debut after his impressive start to the Hyundai A-League season with the Mariners who have conceded just two goals in the opening six rounds.

Boogaard and Central Coast team-mate goalkeeper Danny Vukovic will be out to impress ahead of the Qantas Under 23s crucial final home match against Iraq at the Mariners' Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday 17 November.

Australia lie second on goal difference behind group leaders Iraq with both teams having secured seven points from their opening three matches. Iraq will face DPR Korea on October 17, with the penultimate group match between Australia and Iraq in Gosford set to be a key encounter in deciding which team wins the group, and with it qualification for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Tickets for that match are on sale now from Ticketek outlets; from the Ticketek website -, or via phone on 132 849.

The squad will commence a week-long camp in the United Arab Emirates on Monday before travelling to Lebanon.

"We had two very good results and performances at home last month and we will be looking to maintain the momentum that we have built up," said Qantas Under 23s coach Graham Arnold.

"This away match will be quite a challenge and Lebanon will undoubtedly prove to be a far more difficult proposition at home than they were last month in Gosford when they were also missing three players through suspension.

"The fact that many Australian-based players were available from the beginning is a positive as it means we will have the majority of the squad together from the opening day of the camp.

"The depth of young talent in the Hyundai A-League has been proven again when you consider the quality and quantity of local players that are featured in the squad."

"Regardless of the result in Lebanon, the match in Gosford against Iraq next month will be absolutely crucial and we will need strong home support to help the boys over the line."

The 20-man squad for the match against Lebanon on October 17 is: Nigel Boogaard (Central Coast Mariners), Leigh Broxham (Melbourne Victory), Mark Bridge (Newcastle Jets), Nathan Burns (Adelaide United), Adam Casey (Sydney FC), Billy Celeski (Perth Glory), Bruce Djite (Adelaide United), Adrian Leijer (Fulham, England), Trent McClenahan (Hereford United, England), David Micevski (Perth Glory), Mark Milligan (Sydney FC), Stuart Musialik (Newcastle Jets), Kristian Sarkies (Adelaide United), Nikolai Topor-Stanley (Perth Glory), James Troisi (Newcastle United), Tando Velaphi (Perth Glory), Danny Vukovic (Central Coast Mariners), Nick Ward (QPR, England), David Williams (Brondby, Denmark), Ruben Zadkovich (Sydney FC)

Australia have already progressed past Chinese Taipei in the preliminary stage of qualifying and finished ahead of Iran and Jordan to qualify alongside Saudi Arabia for the third stage.

Fixtures:- Iraq v Australia 0-0 Wednesday 22 Aug, 7pm local Al Rayyan Stadium, Doha, Qatar

Australia v DPR Korea 1-0 Saturday 8 Sept, kick-off 7pm AEST EnergyAustralia Stadium, Newcastle

Australia v Lebanon 3-0 Wednesday 12 Sept, kick-off 7pm AEST Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford

Lebanon v Australia Wednesday 17 Oct, 6pm local time Beirut Municipal Stadium, Beirut

Australia v Iraq Saturday 17 Nov, kick-off 7pm AEDST Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford

DPR Korea v Australia Wednesday 21 Nov, 3pm local time Kim Il Sung Stadium, Pyongyang

Click on the following link for more information on the Qantas Under 23s, including player profiles: