Saturday, 30 June 2007

Kanga Cup online through 3eep:

Share your Kanga Cup’s football passion exclusively online with 3eep!

Can’t get to see your kids at the Kanga Cup? Want to discuss the Kanga Cup after the game? Want to see all the day’s news, views, photo’s and video’s?

Well now you can.

3eep and Capital Football have teamed up to enable all Kanga Cup participants to share your Kanga Cup’s football passion exclusively online on 3eep!

For the first time, all Kanga Cup participants including football team coaches, players or a passionate ‘football mums and dads’, will have a single online zone to share photos, videos and stories about this year’s tournament.

3eep is an online sports community which enables sports players, fans and administrators to have an ‘online place’ to continue their passionate conversations about the sports they love.

It will be a fantastic way to keep in touch with family, friends and passionate team fans back at home wherever in the world that may be!

Imagine being able to share those special (and not so special) moments and comments on your thoughts, opinions and emotions while you are participating at the tournament.

And to celebrate this exciting development the World first Kanga Cup Competition is being launched next week

As part of this exciting partnership, 3eep will be launching a world first Best Photos and Videos competition for the Cup this year at the following web address on 3eep:

There will be prizes for best photographer, and best videos. So take your camera and visit the Kanga Cup Hub during the tournament.


Meet Robbie Martin: Football fan

Why our bandwagon is nearly full
Robbie and I go way back.

I bumped into him at the gym today.

He should have been in Melbourne playing AFL but he came home to Canberra to see his mum.

I used to teach Robbie accounting.

In fact the day Aussie Legend Don Bradman died we were in class together.

Robbie and his mate Joey were disappointed Bradman didn't get to 99 years and 94 days. Sports nuts and number crunchers!

We did talk accounting a bit, but mostly it was sport, League and AFL. Soccer as Robbie called it got a big grin and we quickly got back into the accounting.

In fact Robbie was playing with Tadhg Kennelly in the Sydney Swans Seconds at the time. He was also ACT Junior Development Officer for the AFL.

An AFL man through and through.

So I was a bit taken a back to hear Robbie was rusted football.

"I'm a convert. I went to the Grand Final in Melbourne."

"What!" Could this be the same Robbie?

"And I've been to other games."

"What happened?" I wondered

"I went to watch Victory at Olympic Park. There were 13,000 singing. All sides of the ground were singing. I thought if that was good enough for them, then I'm in. That was it. I'm a convert."

Don't think it's all about Robbie nearly fell off the bandwagon on my

Welcome aboard Robbie, there's room for all sports fans in our game.


Girls and Boys: Can they play together?

Story taken from the Sunday Sun Herald: (thanks to Highly Inflammable for pointing it out)

Jessica Warren, 16, has played two seasons with Ballarat Academy of Soccer (sic) under-16 boys' side - but that cuts no ice with the opposition.

Avondale Heights Junior Soccer (sic) Club approached the referee before a game and argued Jessica should be banned because she was a girl. The referee agreed.

After Ballarat complained to Football Federation Victoria, an official apologised to Jessica on behalf of the federation and the referee. But Avondale Heights treasurer John Colangeli said his club had nothing to apologise for.

Ballarat Academy head coach Rick Romein described the ban and subsequent response from Avondale as ignorant.

Jessica, back playing with the Academy boys this weekend, tried out with the state girls' side last year. "The Avondale officials said they were worried if I got injured they would be sued," she said, "I wouldn't be playing against boys if I was scared of being injured." Federation spokesman Mark van Aken said a rule stopping girls under (over?) 14 from playing against boys had long been scrapped. They could play against boys to the age of 21.

Well, it begs the question, to me anyway, why would a group of boys protest about a girl playing?

Any answers?


Friday, 29 June 2007

Another Canberran back in the A-League

Kaz Patafta with his Benfica shirt

Copyright: Kaz Patafta

Kaz Patafta is back in town.

Kaz Patafta joins a growing band of Canberrans now playing in the A-League.
Former Australian Under 17 Captain has joined Melbourne Victory. Former Australian Under 20 Captain Shaun Ontong is with Adelaide United, Olyroo Adam Casey, Sydney FC, Matthew Kemp, Melbourne Victory and Olyroo Nikolai Topor-Stanley, joins Perth Glory.
It's a pretty impressive line-up from our fair city.
Football in the Capital caught up with Kaz before he flies out to China with his new club Melbourne Victory on Monday.

"I'll be great to play with my good mate Leigh Broxham at Victory. I'm looking forward to that."

Kaz had a two week trial at Real Madrid when he was 15. He is the proud owner of a signed David Beckham Real Madrid shirt and a Harry Kewell Liverpool shirt.

Kaz is back and ready to play.

"I can't wait to meet the team on Monday. I'm really looking forward to the game against China. They should be really well prepared as they are just about to go into the Asia Cup."

We'll have a full interview with Kaz over the next couple of days.


Canberra Times article: Friday 29 June

Canberra’s Socceroo Carl Valeri will play his football in Italy’s Serie B next season with Grosseto.
Valeri who is currently in camp with the Socceroos in Singapore, as they prepare for the AFC Asia Cup 2007, is pleased with the outcome.

“At this stage of my career, it’s best for me,” said Valeri.

Valeri’s contract is half owned by Italian giant Inter Milan and Grosseto. Valeri’s match winning goal for Grosseto on the final day of last season ensured the Tuscan club went into Serie B for the first time in their short history. It also meant Grosseto was keen to keep him.

When Valeri’s loan period to Grosseto expired in May, Inter and Grosseto both placed bids into an envelope to secure the players future. If Inter had placed the highest bid it was expected Valeri would be loaned out to another lower league club.

“I want to stay at Grosseto, establish myself in Serie B. Moving to another club you have to start all over again,” said Valeri.

Fortunately for Valeri, Grosseto’s bid was said to be $300,000 higher than Inter’s so Valeri gets to stay for one more year.

“Yes, I’m delighted. The good news is that Grosseto won the other half of me. So that's pretty exciting for me. That’s what I wanted, so that will be good when I get back. I’ll join up with late pre-season training with Grosseto.”

Meanwhile Valeri wasn’t so happy with the heat in Singapore.

“I’m so tired it’s not funny. We have been training pretty hard. It’s just so hot.”

Coach Graham Arnold is putting his players through pre-season training. Arnold is determined to have his players fit for their first ever Asia Cup. The Socceroos have been training twice a day in humid conditions. Players have lost between 2-4kg in training sessions.

Former coach Guus Hiddink introduced a more mobile style of play to the Australian game. It got great results in the World Cup last June in Germany. Maintaining this style in the heat of South East Asia will be a big challenge for the squad.

Valeri doesn’t expect much game time at this tournament, despite playing the full ninety minutes in the last two Socceroo games, against Uruguay and China. He sees World Cup stars Vince Grella and Jason Culina ahead of him in the battle for selection.

“There are some great midfielders ahead of me in this team. I'm working hard but understand my chances of playing may be limited,” said Valeri
“It's going to be a good learning experience no matter what.”

“Since we arrived last week we’ve only had one morning off, so it’s been pretty hectic.”

“Luckily I did some training at the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) before I left, otherwise I don’t think I would be able to move right now.
Despite the intense training Valeri is excited as the tournament approaches.
“Everyone except John Aloisi is in camp. All the senior players are willing to help the younger guys out, which is great,”

The Australians will play Singapore on Saturday in their only international before their opening 2007 Asia Cup game against Oman on July 8 in Bangkok.

Australia is in Group A with Oman, Iraq and co-hosts Thailand. All group games will be played in Bangkok. If Australia wins they stay in Bangkok for their quarter final. The semi-final would be in Hanoi, Vietnam, with the final in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Organisers have acknowledged hosting the games in four countries is a mistake. Fans, journalists and teams may have to move between all four countries if their team makes it to the final.

Australia are expected to have 5,000 fans at the first game, with more to join if, as expected, the team progresses.


You are not alone!

Like to know who shares our interests?

I'm always fascinated to see who is looking at the blog over the previous day or so.

Click below at the very bottom of the page at Sitemeter. You should be able to access the hits and stuff since I've started. Go to the World Map and click the last 100 button. Watch the world light up.

Occasionally there's a little light in Ireland. I know me Mammy is watching me. Thanks Mum:)


ACT Under 17 Girl's squad announced

The ACT girls under 17’s squad has been named ahead of the National Championships in Coffs Harbour next month with Capital Football opening the door for a few players who missed out in their own state selection.

With a couple of players unavailable for selection, the ACT has acquired the services of three South Australian shadow players to make up the numbers for the coming nationals.

ACT U17’s coach Ian Shaw is looking forward to mixing it with the best.

“It’s a pleasure to be able to put together a squad for the national titles. The under 17’s squad will be very competitive, but because of a lack of available players from the local region we’ve been able to draft in three shadow players from South Australia which will strengthen our team and be great for the player’s development.”

Shaw said.“I’m really looking forward to taking this group away - there are some really good young players and we have a very competitive team.”

Shaw’s involvement in national championships is very impressive having coached the only ACT boys team to a national title many years ago.

The ACT has been drawn against Tasmania, South Australia, Queensland and NSW in group A with the top two teams to progress to the semi finals.

This year’s squad:

Maja Blasch Kirri Bolton
Ilanah Aitchison Kristina Matkovic
Emily Davidson Natasha Ackland
Bronwyn Studman Monique Solar
Katrina Brennan – Captain Courtney Attwood
Thea Wilkinson-Shore Allie Lound
Emi Skopal Rebecca Werner – South Australia
Jessica Nagel – South Australia Hayley Truskewycz – South Australia


Thursday, 28 June 2007

Canberra's Amy Chapman to claim a World Cup spot?

Will the ACT's Sally Shipard, Caitlin Munoz (pictured here) and Lydia Williams be joined by Amy Chapman at the Fifa World Cup in China in September?

The Matildas will continue preparations for September’s FIFA Women’s World Cup with a five-day training camp in Coffs Harbour which commences tomorrow and conclude on Tuesday.

Coach Tom Sermanni will have an expanded squad of 27 players in camp for what he regards as crucial time together with the World Cup less than three months away.

“The focus now is completely on the World Cup so anytime the squad have together as a group is extremely valuable,” said Matildas coach Tom Sermanni.

“There are still positions in the World Cup squad up for grabs and so there is some intense competition to win a berth.”

A number of young players have been drafted into the squad including former Young Matildas pair Victoria Balomenos and Amy Chapman, plus Australian Under 17 representative Kyah Simon. Other uncapped players in the squad include Elise Kellond-Knight, Ellen Beaumont and Louisa Bisby.

The Matildas squad for the camp in Coffs Harbour is:

Goalkeepers – Melissa Barbieri (Melbourne), Lisa Hartley (Wollongong), Lydia Williams (Canberra), Emma Wirkus (Adelaide

Defenders – Ellen Beaumont (Brisbane), Rhian Davies (Sydney), Kate McShea (Brisbane), Karla Reuter (Newcastle), Cheryl Salisbury (Newcastle), Thea Slatyer (Sydney)

Midfielders – Louisa Bisby (Melbourne), Amy Chapman (Canberra), Lauren Colthorpe (Newcastle), Alicia Ferguson (Brisbane), Lana Harch (Brisbane), Elise Kellond-Knight (Brisbane), Collette McCallum (Perth), Amber Neilson (Newcastle), Joanne Peters (Newcastle), Kyah Simon (Sydney), Sally Shipard (Canberra), Danielle Small (Sydney)

Forwards – Victoria Balomenos (Adelaide), Joanne Burgess (Sydney), Kate Gill (Newcastle), Caitlin Munoz (Canberra), Sarah Walsh (Sydney)
(current home city)

A number of players are missing from the camp due to injury or unavailability including Dianne Alagich, Heather Garriock, Clare Polkinghorne, Kim Carroll and Lisa DeVanna.


Kanga Cup: Belnorth Little Devils rock!

Have you got a team to support for the Kanga Cup?

Belnorth Little Devil Stars: Holly Murney and Alex Paterson.

It's Kanga Cup time. The tournament runs in Canberra from 8 July until 13 July.

But who you are going to suport?

Haven't chosen a team yet?

Well, that sounds almost....well un-Australian.

I'll be reporting on the Socceroos in the Asia Cup for the Canberra Times, so I won't be around for the Kanga Cup, but I've chosen my team.


I met two star players today and they bowled me over with their enthusiasm, and charm.

Holly Murney is 11. She just loves playing soccer.

"It's really fun, I get to make new friends. I just love having fun."

Have you ever scored a goal Holly?

Cynthia, her mum, jumps in. "Heaps."

"And I love being goalie." adds Holly.

Alex Paterson is also a Little Devil.

Somehow I think the name suits this team.

"I love running around and kicking the ball. This is my fourth year playing soccer. I scored a goal in my first year. It felt really good."

So that's my team for the Kanga Cup.

I won't be there to cover the games. I'll be talking to Lucas Neill and co. Well someone has to do it.

But, Holly, Alex and your mates from the Belnorth Little Devils, if you send me an email after every game, I'll get your story out to the world on this site. Any details, goals etc, whatever you like.

Don't worry about the spelling or stuff like that. Football stars like you guys need to concentrate on playing during a tournament.

Go the Little Devils, let's see how many goals we score.


Sally Shipard chose Football over Cricket

Football or Cricket: Which would you choose?

Sally Shipard writes each Thursday for Football in the Capital

Hi guys

When you grow up in a country town travelling to trials, training and competing in your sport is time consuming.

For me I had to choose between Football and Cricket.

I had to make the decision when I was about 15. At the time I was representing both sports at elite level.

What would you choose?

Elyse Perry is a Young Matilda in exactly the same position. She is in the Australian National Cricket team and the Young Matilda’s squad.

Firstly, I have to say, that is a fantastic effort, what an achievement.

I leaned towards football. I preferred it. It was as simple as that. For me playing cricket wasn’t the most entertaining game.

Football, on the other hand, I Ioved. I loved how unpredictable and exciting it was.
Looking back on my decision I’m glad I chose football.

I’ve travelled with Australian teams to so many countries on so many continents. After all, football is the ‘World Game.’

The opportunities for international travel, both representing Australia and playing at club level overseas are so extensive.

Female football in Australia is growing, and the attributes we bring to the game are slowly being recognized by the Australian public. It’s only going to get better from here.

My advice for Elyse would be to choose whichever she prefers, and o think about what she wants for her future.

Fingers crossed its football.

I look forward to playing alongside her in the senior team one day.


Eamonn adds: Matildas are in camp in Coff’s Harbour this weekend. Sally will give us an update on the Matilda’s next week.


Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Canberra ref.Ben Wilson inside Brian Lara's house

Who, Who's in the house?

Fifa Referee and Canberran Ben Wilson tells a great story.

"I was refereeing in Trinidad for the Youth World Cup. A Trinidad referee invited a group of us to cricket legend Brian Lara's house."

"Fantastic house, we had a great time."

"A perk of the job I suppose."

"Only thing was Brian wasn't there, he was playing cricket in Australia."

"And when I came back to Canberra Airport, who was checking in for a flight. Yes, Brian Lara. He'd been playing against the PM's XI in Canberra."

Did you tell him you'd been in his house.

"No, I thought about it, pretty funny though."

Thanks Ben, great story.


The Carl Valeri interview

Carl Valeri back with Italian club Grosseto for next season.

Carl Valeri speaks to Football in the Capital from the Socceroos training base in Singapore

Hi Eamonn, I am very tired, we have been training pretty hard. It's so hot its not funny!

This morning is our first morning off since we got here, so its been pretty hectic.

Lucky I did some training at the AIS before I left otherwise I don’t think I would be able to move right now.

The good news is that Grosseto won the other half of me!

So that's pretty exciting for me. That’s what I wanted, So I'm looking forward to getting back and getting into a late pre-season with Grosseto.

Everyone except John Aloisi is in camp.

All the players are willing to help the younger guys out, which is great.

There are some great midfielders ahead of me in this team. I'm working hard but understand my chances of playing may be limited.

It's going to be a good learning experience no matter what.

I'm in the room with Michael Thwaites this time. I got rid of Nicky Carle he was way too annoying. I'm joking Eamonn!

Nick is a good guy and I'm happy he got a move to Turkey, it should be great for his career.

Michael is a top guy, he recently got married so he is on the phone 24/7.

It is getting close to the start of the tournament so its all pretty exciting!



Nicky Carl: A man divided?

Nicky Carle: There's the clue

Nicky Carle and Carl Valeri are no longer Socceroo room-mates!

And I just couldn't resist the headline.

Carl Valeri is rooming with old friend Michael Thwaites at the Socceroos training camp in Singapore.

Got a better headline? Let me know.


Kaz Patafta at Real Madrid

How did your training go lat night? Get stuck in. Couple of crunchers going around.

Well here’ s food for thought.

Did you know Melbourne Victory signing and Canberran Kaz Patafta went to Real Madrid for a two week trial when he was 15.

Sitting in the dressing room, young Kaz was putting his shinpads on.

“You won’t need those here,” stated the Madrid coach.

And he didn’t.

While competition is tough at the World’s most famous club, players are taught to respect their fellow teammates in training.

Yes, they have to tackle, but if there is risk of injury they are expected to pull out.

Focus is on skills development and attacking creativity.

Is your club keeping up with Madrid?


Canberra fan: Andy McDonald living in Paradise.

Quick quiz: Where is Paradise?

Blog writing brings many rewards. You just never know who is watching and reading.

That's Andrew McDonald in the Australian shirt above holding his Canberra City, Australian flag at last years World Cup.

I've met Andy before.

Andy is currently in Paradise, or at least next to it! If he peeps up from his computer he can see the tip of one of the World's greatest clubs.

Another clue:

A namesake Aussie has just signed for this club.

Got it? Yes it's Celtic Park, Glasgow and the player who' s signed..Scott McDonald.

Anyway Andy was perusing the web from work one day, and he found this blog. He recognised my name immediately, not the sort of name you forget I guess if you've had me as a teacher.

"You taught me at Hawker College in 1993! I'm now living in Glasgow next to Celtic's ground. I remember you were a Celtic fan," says Andy

At least something I taught you stuck, Andy:)

And I remember Andy, you were an Aberdeen fan!

Andy, has travelled to Germany to watch the Socceroos in the last two summer campaigns. Confederation Cup and World Cup.

He is rather jealous that it is I and not him that is heading off to cover the Socceroos in the Asia Cup this July:)

Never mind Andy, at least you are in Paradise!


Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Belconnen United take on Central Coast Mariners.

Belconnen United play Central Coast Mariners on Saturday night at Belconnen Soccer Centre.
The Belconnen side contains a number of young players that have played in ACT representative sides and the ACT Academy of Sport. Seven of the squad also played for the Blue Devils Under 20s.
Former Blue Devil and United captain Lee Pietrukowski said the side would rise to the occasion.

“Some of our players have played at a high level - I wouldn’t say A-league [standard] but close to and I believe it’s a good opportunity for some of the lads to see what they’re up against and see the level they need to aspire to,” he said.

“I believe we can be competitive.”

Belconnen Coach Steve Forshaw agreed the side wouldn’t be overawed by the Mariners.

“At this stage of the season we’re fully into the swing of things and we’ve got some decent players and a good squad. If we play well and they’re not up for it, surprises have happened before.” he said.

The Central Coast players will train on Friday from 4:30 to 6pm at Mackellar Stadium.
Belconnen United v Central Coast Mariners is on this Saturday, 30 June. Kick off is at 5.30pm

Tony Vidmar, Nick Mrdja, Tom Pondeljak, Sasho Petrovski and Dean Heffernan are just some of the A-League stars on show.

Can the Canberra lads turn the A-League side over?

What do you think?


Matildas in Camp at Coffs Harbour

The Matilda's are back in camp this weekend in Coff's Harbour. The warmer climes are seen as better preparation for the World Cup in China in September.

There are still two Olympic qualifiers against Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong is August .This severely limits the Matilda's opportunities to play tough International games before the World Cup.

The Matildas, having lost to North Korea recently have little realistic chance of qualifying for next years Olympics.

But they do have an Asian Cup to look forward to in May. The venue is yet to be decided.

In the women's game the Asian Cup is played every two years.


Look who is here this week.

The following stars of football will all talk to Football in the Capital this week:

Starting with Brett Holman and Carl Valeri this afternoon from Singapore, followed by, Fifa Ref Ben Wilson, Matilda's star Sally Shipard, Central Coast's Dean Heffernan, Brumbies star Marco Caputo and of course a very special surprise guest on top!

That list is impressive I think. Wait until you here from our special guest on Wednesday.

Canberra just has so much football to talk about.


Brett Holman: A striker ahead of the pack

Brett Holman: Will he lead our charge to the World Cup?

Brett Holman is a key Socceroo. If not now, then for the 2010 World Cup campaign. With Mark Viduka and John Aloisi considering retiring, it will be up to the new generation of strikers to lead Australia to more World Cup glory.

Holman is ahead of the pack.

Holman was speaking from Singapore this afternoon as the Socceroos prepare for their Asia Cup showdown.

With Josh Kennedy a long term injury and Scott McDonald back at Celtic, Holman has a chance to stamp his name as the number one striker once the big guns retire.

"If you look at who is here. Harry (Kewell) , Timmy (Cahill) and Bresch (Mark Bresciano), then if they are all fit, and they are then I'm hoping to be on the bench, and maybe make an impact from there."

Holman has figured heavily in Coach Graham Arnold's plans since the World Cup. He scored his first goal in March against China.

"We're working hard. We're doing a lot of running with the ball. In Holland in pre-season we'd do more running. Here we have to hydrate more. The humidity is very different to Australia."

"Acclimatising will be a major factor in this tournament. It's good to be in Singapore to get used to the weather."

"Players lose a lot of fluids at training, maybe 2kg's a session."

"The mood in camp is good. No-one is complaining of the heat. The boys are raring to go against Singapore."

Australia play Singapore on Saturday in a friendly. The game is live on Fox at 10.30AEST.
Is Holman our number one striking prospect fo 2010 South Africa World Cup?


Monday, 25 June 2007

Canberra for the A-League

Hey we want a team in the A-League
Canberra is missing out. We need an A-League team and we need to get our community organised.

Comparing Canberra with the Central Coast.

The Central Coast is home to over 15,000 registered footballers – a number greater than any other two sporting codes combined on the Central Coast.

Pah that's nothing, Canberra has 16,000 registered players.

Central Coast went to the Hong Kong Sevens recently and took members of their Business Council with them

Surely with our IT expertise, defence industries lobbying groups, and Universities we would have more attractive business to take into Asia than the storm soaked Central Coast.

Anyway it’s time to push our bid forward.

What bid?

Well, good point, but if you are reading this from Asia, USA, or Europe and you have some serious dollars and would love to get involved in the growing global sport, football.

Then let’s talk. The franchise needs you, and you won't regret it.

We have a superb stadium, heaps of registered players and got over 7,000 to an A-League pre-season game between two non-Canberra teams.

With FOUR Aussie sides expected to get into Asia in coming seasons the time is right to get involved in a Canberra bid.

LA TV Star Anthony LaPaglia flew into Japan to watch his beloved Sydney FC take on the Urawa Reds in front of 50,000 fans.

That could be you.


Marco Caputo: Why kids should start with football

Former Wallaby and Brumbies star Marco Caputo says, "Football is a great game to teach children their bio mechanical skills."

He should know. He played many sports, including football in his junior career before excelling at Rugby. And didn't he just. He played for the Brumbies before heading to England and France for more club Rugby. The Canberran did well!

Marco and I chatted while his son Joe kicked around us, and his daughter Sophia was playing out a 0-0 draw.

Captuo has two children, Sophia and Joseph. Both play at Majura Soccer club.

“Sure I’d love them to be a Matilda or Socceroo, but really as long as they are out playing with other kids having fun, that’s what important. People ask me if I want them to follow me into Rugby but I don’t mind, as long they are happy.”

“Football is a great way for any kid to start, no matter what sport you end up playing. It’s such a good game to get their bio mechanical skills developed. I think it’s important for kids to learn the discipline of turning up and training, and learning to work together.”

“Most of the big stars in Rugby like Johnny Wilkinson (England), and Joe Roff(former Brumby) were good footballers.”

Johnny Wilkinson: Started life as a footballer, and didn't his football skills pay off for the England Rugby team when he booted them to victory in the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

Caputo continued, “The Wallaby players always looked to the English Premier League, Serie A and La Liga. We were always trying to learn to get an edge from other top sportsmen.”

“The changes in Australian football over the last few years have been great. Little blokes, like my Joey, can now identify with a career path in football. After watching the Socceroos at the last World Cup they can identify with the Aussies playing in the top leagues in Europe. Tim Cahill at Everton, Mark Viduka now at Newcastle.

Aussie kids now see if they put their head down they could be one of these guys. It’s done such good things for the profile of the game and John O’Neill has had a lot to do with that. “

“Last night I was looking on YouTube at Ronaldinho and all his skills. The kids want to do the tricks and play at these huge stadiums. It’s great.”

And it was great to hear a champion of another code talking up football.

If sports are to succeed in Canberra we need more fans supporting more teams.

You can see the whole Marco Caputo interview at


FIFA rankings: Matildas slip to 15.

I say: Ranking, smankings!

The Matildas have slipped one place on the Fifa ranking to 15th.

Interestingly the Matildas are confident of progressing from their World Cup group in China in September despite the fact that two teams in their group are ranked above them

They will have to beat Norway, and Canada who are both ranked higher. Ghana, the third team in the group, are around the 50 mark, but with the improving standard of African football, it is not really known how good they will be.

DPR Korea who beat Australia recently in Olympic qualifiers are ranked 5th, although Coach Tom Sermanni thinks they are probably the best in the world.

Rankings, smankings. True football followers know they are worth tosh.

More interestingly, to me, anyway, is the Matildas match preparation for the World Cup.

They have two games against very poor teams in August. They must play Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong to complete their Olympic qualification program, but this leaves Sermanni very little time to get competitive games organised.

Not ideal preparation for a World Cup, and with FFA budgets tight at best, the chances for more International games are low.

The rankings.

1 USA 2204 0 13

2 Germany 2148 0 -31

3 Sweden 2071 1 25

4 Norway 2055 -1 -14

5 Korea DPR 2052 0 28

6 Denmark 2019 0 14

7 France 2008 0 6

8 Brazil 2000 0 0

9 Canada 1962 1 0

10 Japan 1944 -1 -20

11 China PR 1934 0 -23

12 England 1931 0 -7

13 Italy 1915 0 -3

14 Russia 1897 1 2

15 Australia 1893 -1 -6

16 Finland 1876 0 8

17 Ukraine 1843 0 9

18 Netherlands 1834 0 4

19 Czech Republic 1804 0 1

20 Spain 1802 0 9


Sunday, 24 June 2007

Harry Kewell and the price he pays to play football

Come on Harry, come on, come on.

Harry Kewell will play at the Asian Cup. Speaking on SBS today he revealed the price he pays to play.

After four operations this year, Harry pays for a full-time physio for himself when the Socceroos are in camp.


Because he doesn't want to take from the resources for the other players!

Apparently Harry needs two and half hours work on his body after every game!

The Aussie physio has been working with Harry for the last eleven months, on a full-time basis in Liverpool!

Makes you wonder if it's worth it Harry.


Carl Valeri profile on SBS today (sunday)

Canberra's Carl Valeri will be profiled on SBS The World Game show today between 5-6pm. Carl was interviewed by an SBS crew at the AIS on Monday before he flew out to Singapore on Thursday.

Catch all Carl's news from the Socceroos camp here on Tuesday.


Saturday, 23 June 2007

Former Wallaby Marco Caputo meets Zinedine Zidane

The day I met Zidane

Marco Caputo, former Wallaby and Brumbies star.

Football in the Capital caught up with Marco Caputo at Dickson Oval as he was watching his children play football. Well, he was until I interrupted him! And then we started talking football and before you know it, it was half-time in his daughters game and we missed the whole thing.

Marco tells of the day he met the one of the World's top footballers, Zinedine Zidane. During the week we'll hear Marco's thoughts on his love of Italian football, the game in Australia, and his desire to see a Canberra A-League side

Marco takes up the story:

“I was playing golf one day with Olivier Magne, French International Rugby Star in France. We were at a golf club owned by Evian water. For six months of the year you couldn’t play as the course was under snow. There was a helicopter buzzing around. In fact it had been so close we could hardly concentrate on the golf. Anyway we head into have lunch when the helicopter lands."

"A massive Polynesian guy gets out all wired up and there is a whole entourage in tow. TV cameras the lot. "

“I’m thinking this guy must be important if he’s got security and the rest.”

"Anyway this guy gets out of the helicopter and comes in to the restaurant and walks towards us. "

"Olivier gets up and says, “I’ve got a mate here, do you mind if he joins us as he doesn’t know anyone here?”

“Sure,” I say. I’m looking at this guy walking towards us, thinking I recognize him.

“It was Zinedine Zidane. He’s a big Rugby fan and wanted to talk Rugby, but I just wanted to talk football.”

"He’d just moved from Juventus to Real Madrid and he talks Italian obviously so I was able to chat with him."

“We discussed who the best French player was ever. He thought Platini, I thought Cantona. I loved his strut, the way he commanded the stage.”

“It was great. Here I am having this discussion about sport with Zidane. I couldn’t believe it. And then his mobile rings. "

“Look guys he says I’m sorry but I have to go. Zidane says it’s Scolari, his coach at Real Madrid. I’m wanted back at training in one hour; we have a big champion’s league game coming up.”

Zidane had been shooting an advert for Evian and had played for France the night before. He gets on the phone, rings the helicopter pilot. In a few minutes the helicopter comes again, picks Zidane up and he’s gone!”

“ It was amazing. He was like a rock star just flying in, but he was also very down to earth. It was great to meet him.”

“It’s hard to explain how these top player live, if you haven’t seen it.”

Great story Marco. We'll have more from Marco during the week.


Bruce Djite, Nathan Burns and Mark Bridge in Singapore

Bruce Djite: Aussie on the rise


The Qantas Socceroos have commenced preparations for the 2007 AFC Asian Cup with the majority of the squad arriving in Singapore and Head Coach Graham Arnold has boosted the depth of the team by adding Bruce Djite, Nathan Burns and Mark Bridge for training purposes.

The trio, all members of the Qantas under 23s squad that are currently in the process of seeking qualification for the 2008 Olympic Games, will return home after the team moves from Singapore to Bangkok ahead of the start of the AFC Asian Cup.

"The opportunity for these young players to mix and train with our best players is a unique experience that will continue to assist with their development," said Mr Arnold.

"It is important for Australian football that we continue to expose our young players to the environment of the national team and the knowledge they will pick up will be a huge benefit to them."

"With the Olympic qualifying program moving into the final stage soon the experience these players and Mark Milligan will get will help them enormously when they face the huge challenge awaiting them to get to Beijing."

Great move Arnie, I reckon this really aids the development of our next generation. Interesting three attackers were chosen as well.

Did Arnie pick the right players?


Junior Football trials: Is your child happy?

Pick me, Pick me

Well did they pick you?

So your child had a trial at the start of the season.

Was it over four weeks? Maybe just one game or maybe you had a set of skills task to undertake.

Maybe your club went on memory from last year.

Was the outcome satisfactory?

A friend of mine saw his child Under 12 meet four times in February.

Teams were sorted into two A teams and two B sides.

One of the A team is getting beat every week. Not a goal to their name.

Meanwhile some of the A team players have never played before, while B team players are clearly better. His words not mine.

Some clubs in town have clearly sorted things well.

How does your club select its playing squads?

Are you happy?

Tell us what works what doesn't.

Clearly having a team where players are playing at the wrong level and teams are getting beat every week without the threat of a goal is not good for the kids, or their development.

Let us know what is working or not out their in junior football land.


ACT Girls Representative Squad.

The ACT PSSA Girls Football squad to compete at the School Sport Australia Nationals in Brisbane in September has been selected.

The girls side will travel with high hopes of a strong performance. Inside sources are quietly pleased with the quality of the squad.
The team to compete at the tournament is:

Hope Wilkins Gold Creek Senior Site
Georgia Sheldrick St Vincent’s Primary
Natalie De Marco Kaleen Primary School
Bronte Carlin Girls Grammar
Sarah Davis Florey Primary
Meg McLaughlin St Clares
Lauren Keir Holy Spirit School
Rebecca Collins Bonython Primary
Tahlia Davidson Girls Grammar
Alice Churchill Radford College
Sally Rojahn Girls Grammar
Stephanie Coates St Clares
Emilie Adams McKillop Catholic College
Dianah Goudge-Hill Melrose High
Caitlin White Girls Grammar

Shadow squad is:

Meg Haynes Ainslie Primary School
Nikki Harvey Caroline Chisholm High
Talia Backhouse St Michael’s Primary


Carl Valeri to stay at Grosseto

Back to Tuscany for this Canberran

copyright: Carl Valeri

Football in the Capital Tuscan based reporter Tommaso Ronchi says, "CARL VALERI IS NOW 100% A FOOTBALL PLAYER OF GROSSETO....!!!!!GO CARL AND WIN ASIAN CUP."

"Oh and I saw how Carl was dressed in Canberra. (Eamonn: Guess Tommy means the photo above.)It's better for him to come back to Italy. The Seas of Marina di Frosseto is waiting for him, But the best thing fo him is to play a great Asian Cup. Go Grosseto.

Thanks Tommy for the update.

Tommaso is delighted, "IT'S A BIG SHOT FOR US."


Friday, 22 June 2007

Young Matilda's in Camp in Canberra this weekend

The Young Matildas are back in camp at the AIS this weekend.

They will play 2 games - tomorrow at 11am against ACT U15 boys, then 9.30am Sunday v ACTAS women.

If you are in Canberra and want to see the best young women in Australia, not to mention our local stars, why not take a peek?


Carl Valeri set to stay at Grosseto.

"I want to stay at Grosseto"

Copyright: Carl Valeri
Football in the Capital reporter Tonini from Tuscany filed this report overnight.


Reporters neutrality goes walkabout as Tonini adds, " CARL,WE WANT YOU, WE BELIEVE IN YOU!"


Thanks Tommy, keep up the great work, and speaking to Carl this week. Carl wants to stay at Grosseto


Thursday, 21 June 2007

Friday Short Shorts.

Another week gone, and then your dead!

This blog got reviewed in MX. A paper which come out in Sydney Melbourne and Brisbane. See the full David McMahon review here. Nearpost blog review

2XX Community Radio in Canberra are thinking about a weekly football show in Canberra. Like to get involved. Production, presenter, announcer, interviewer. Email Football in the Capital for further details.

And of course news from Sydney FC

Sydney FC had a tough season last year. No trophies, and by the end no manager. But before he left Coach Terry Butcher was trying to improve morale once more.

On the Coach back from defeat in the A-League semi-final to Newcastle, Butcher organised a raffle. Socceroo star David Carney distributed all the tickets to the players and staff.

The mood was sour, but at least a Sydney player would win something this year.

Anyway, the draw was made, and you guessed it,

the Coach driver won.

Summed up the season really.

An oldie but a goodie:)

Mark Viduka to Newcastle. I'm still not happy. He only played for one huge club in his glittering career. Glasgow Celtic, oh alright I'm a Celtic fan.

I wanted to see him at Manchester United with Ronaldo and Rooney running off the Duke. Oh well at least his season will be shorter, Newcastle never get very far in Europe, if they get in at all.

Reading Sally Shipard's post yesterday about how to improve your skill. Practice practice and more practice. There is no short cut is there.

Football in the Capital will be interviewing Kaz Patafka next week, should be an interesting story.

We'll also be finding how out Carl Valeri is finding the training in Singapore.

Archie Thompson reckons Wellington Phoenix could make the four next season. With Ross Aloisi, Vince Lia and Michael Ferrante signed up they'll be the best New Zealand side yet. Great for the A-League.

Bottom club, I'm afraid it's looking like Newcastle with the depature of Paul Okon, one of Australia's finest players. Still plenty of time to recruit but with Nicky Carle and others gone, poor old Mark Bridge must be hugely disappointed.

Have a great weekend, thanks for the comments and views from all over the world. It's amazing where you are looking in from.




A young man's tyranny of distance.

Ever left a family member at the airport?

Copyright: Carl Valeri

Well, if you can judge a mood of its team by how relaxed it's players are Australia could be on to a good thing in the Asian Cup.

I spent a few minutes with Carl Valeri and family at Canberra airport yesterday as he waited fir his flight enroute to Singapore.

His Dad Walter, was trying to steal Carl's chips. Brother Matt was giving him heaps.

"Are you going to watch the games?"

"Very excited, can't wait," said his Dad.

"Nah," said Matt, "I've seen him before!"

"Been to watch him play in Italy?"

"No, one day I'd like to."

"What do you think of his achievements?"

Matt thought, as Walter knicked another chip.

"I still get a laugh of how we use to play Rugby League as kids. I use to dummy him every time, and I mean every time. There were only two of us playing but he fell for it every time."

With that Carl flicked a chip across the table. The smiles, the brotherly love alive and well.

But for Carl, a hint of life as a footballer.

About to join Viduka and Kewell, he acknowledged something beyond the glamour, the football.

Wiithin a few minutes he'd be again farewelling his closest family and girlfriend Suzi, as he headed off to Asia and later back to Italy for another year thousands of miles away.

He's twenty-two. From a warm, close Australian Italian family.

Again the tyranny of distance could be sensed across the table.


Sally Shipard: and why she loves beating boys!

So you want to be an International Footballer, read on.
This week Sally tells just what it takes to become a skillful Matilda.

Hi I’m Sally Shipard,

Ok this week guys I will share some of my background as a young footballer.

I was born in Tumut, a small country town about an hour from Wagga, in New South Wales. My family moved to Wagga when I was 3 yrs old. We based ourselves in central Wagga, which was great because our primary school was just down the road, and the shops just around the corner.
And I know you are probably thinking that everything is 'around the corner' in Wagga but its not actually the case.

Ok, well back on track. When I was 5 years old I was introduced to many sports, most kids at the age of 5, or thereabouts are playing sport in country towns.

My main reason was my two older brothers were involved with sports. My favourite sport has always been football, I first began playing for a club team called PCYC. I was never a fan of netball (like most girls my age). I played basketball, cricket, softball and even AFL. I broke my arm in U/10's though so my AFL career was very short-lived:-)

I played football with a boys team right up until I moved to Sydney when I was 15.

There’s nothing more satisfying at beating a boy at something.

I think I was born with this competitive nature, it certainly helped because after all I have grown up with 3 brothers.
I played for the Wagga rep boys team from U/12's and represented the U/14 NSW Country team from the age of 12 also. When I was 13 I was faced with the decision to choose between cricket and football. I was playing both games at a representative level. I’m so glad I chose football.

I began home training when I was about 10 yrs old. I can remember being able to juggle maybe 10-15 times before the ball hit the ground. I juggled everyday for at least 20 minutes and in no time I was juggling 100's and then thousands.

I would recommend for the younger players to be juggling as much as they can. It’s so beneficial when it comes to your touch on the ball and you gain a better feel for the ball.

Tune in next week for the continued rise of my footballing career:-)

Bye Sal


John Howard - Have you got Fox Sport?

Aussie Prime Minister will be able to watch the Socceroos on Fox at the Asia Cup

If the Aussies get to the last four of the Asia Cup, and they probably will, do you want to see pictures of John Howard in his new Socceroo tracksuit jumping up and down in front of his FoxSports channel.

All the kids and parents who would be watching in PRIMETIME if the game was on Free-to-air will not want to see it either. This is wrong and the FFA need to get Fox to the table and renegotiate a one-off deal.

How does it help Fox if 70% of Aussies can't watch what would be the biggest sporting viewer figures of the year.

Australia v Japan Final of the Asia Cup at 7.30pm.

Which Aussie wouldn't tune in if this happened?


How good is your six year old

Matteo amazing boy 6 years old. A future Socceroo? So your six year old isn't this good. Well get out there and! The future of this country depends on it.


Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Kaz Patafta heads to China

First Portugal ,then Australia, now China.

Kaz Patafka: A Canberran on the move

Football in the Capital will catch up with Melbourne Victory's new signing Kaz Patafta when he arrives back in Australia next week.

Currently with Benfica in Portugal, Patafta has joined Melbourne on a one-year loan deal.

Kaz will join Victory on their pre-season tour of China.

In other Victory news. Victory beat South Melbourne 5-1 overnight with over 7,500 in attendance.

Speaking with club sources yesterday, Victory hope to crack the 20,000 membership mark this year. They are expecting attendances to rise significantly given all home games this year are at the Telstra Dome.

Last year, their poorest attendance at the Dome was 23,000 in Melbourne Race week on a Thursday night.

Expect them to average over 30,000 comfortably this season, on the back of last year's success and, in view of their outstanding recruitment campaign.

Check back here for more on Kaz and his move to Melbourne next week.


Blog off Arnold:)

Socceroos want to blog, no really they do!

Football Federation Australia have sent out a message saying no players can write diaries, newspaper columns or blogs during the Asian Cup.

The FFA want to ensure team morale is maintained throughout the tournament.

All very good I'm sure. Didn't stop Zeljko Kalac getting his message out during the last World Cup campaign

As far as we are concerned Carl Valeri is not allowed to write for us during the Asian Cup but we can interview him.

You work it out, because I'm struggling.

Come on, we're a little good time blog, not the Daily Telegraph!

Okay Arnie, it's your way for now, but we'd better win the Asian Cup or I'll be leading a campaign for a change of coach....

You can see the headline:

Blog off Arnold:)


Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Canberra's KazPatafta signs for Victory

Welcome home Kaz

It'll be a pleasure to watch another Canberran at Melbourne Victory

Melbourne Victory announced today that Kaz Patafta is heading back to Australia. He will join fellow Canberran Matthew Kemp at Melbourne Victory. Patafta signed a one year loan deal. Patafta, currently with Benfica, will add further quality to the A-League Champions.

“Kaz is a terrific talent with enormous potential,” Victory coach Ernie Merrick said. “The quality of our league and the calibre of facilities here in Melbourne makes us a really viable alternative for big European clubs looking to loan players like Kaz.

“We hope to provide Kaz with every possible opportunity to continue to improve as a footballer and we look forward to seeing him develop as a key player for Melbourne Victory and for the Australian national team.”

Haven't Victory recruited well?

Hernandex from Costa Rica, Miliecivic from Young Boys, Switzerland and now Patafka,

It will be great to watch a future Socceroo make his mark at home in the A-League.

Victory may have missed out on Canberra's Carl Valeri earlier this year, but have recognised the quality of player produced in this town.

God luck Kaz, as you embark on A-League and Asian Champions League duties for Victory.


Kanga Cup news

Volunteers Needed

Capital Football is in need of volunteers for this year’s McDonald’s Kanga Cup in the second week of July. Last year, 26 volunteers took part in making the tournament possible.
This year only 16 volunteers have registered therefore we need at least another ten helpers in the following areas:
· Ground Management
· Opening Ceremony/Social Functions
· Retail

It’s a wonderful opportunity for volunteers to participate in the largest junior football tournament in the southern hemisphere and one of Canberra’s largest events. Apart from benefits such as the provision of a uniform, lunch and the opportunity to meet lots of new people - the Kanga Cup is a lot of fun and you become an ambassador for Canberra itself.


Guess who is in town today?

Harry Kewell is in town today! As part of his relationship with the Federal Government's health programme, the Socceroo star has visited St Edmunds College and was interviewed by the Queanbeyan Times and I'm sure a few other media outlets besides.
Harry Kewell will join up with The Socceroos on Thursday as the Aussies aim to win the Asia Cup.


ACT Under 15 Rep side announced

The ACT girls under 15’s squad has been named ahead of the National Championships in Coffs Harbour next month.
The ACT will come up against Northern Territory, South Australia, Western Australia and Northern NSW in Group A with the top two to proceed to the semi finals with the rest of the group playing off for final standings.

In the 2006 Championships the ACT finished 3rd in their group, then went on to end up 5th overall.

This year’s squad:

1 GK Raymond Gillian

2 Hart Regan

3 Lynch Charlotte

4 Weatherley Erica

5 Kromar Ellen

6 Hagen Krista

7 Forner Emily

8 Pearson Liz

9 Clout Erin

10 Busstra Mel

11 Radcliffe Claire

12 Taglieri Mel

13 Foley Brittany

14 Sainty Lane

15 Gratton Bek

16 Smale Brittany


Carl Valeri talks to Football in the Capital

Carl, you look a tad cold on your holidays!

It's 30 degrees at night in Singapore, and you'll be there and running on Thursday

Football in the Capital caught up with Socceroo Carl Valeri in cold cold Canberra as Carl enjoyed his two-week annual break.

So your Socceroo mate Brett Holman is in Cairns, what do you do when you are away from football Carl?

"I like to get home for a bit. My Mum gets me to see my family dentist, so I have to do that! But really I just love catching up with my old friends here in Canberra. "

"I feel so relaxed back here in Canberra, it's home."

What about football?

"Oh football, well I try and get completely away, Just think about other things I know when we go back into camp next week, they will hurt us. It'll will be like pre-season, and I'm not looking forward to that."

"The playing, the games is easy, no problem, its just the pre-season training is tough."

When doe the season start in Italy?

"In mid-August so there will be no break after the Asian Cup. In Italy they take us up to the mountains for a month of pre-season usually. We train, run for two hours in the morning every day, and do ball work every afternoon. It's tough, very hard on the body."

So have you being doing any exercise in your break?

"We'll to be honest, I wasn't, but I have now because the FFA called me and told me to get my butt moving. So press-ups and half an hour skipping to get the legs going and some running. I have to work the isometrics. Basically they want us moving because when we get into camp its' going to be tough from the first day."

"Did you hear your Socceroo room-mate Nicky Carle is off to Turkey."

"Yeah, that's great for him. He's a great guy. I hope it goes well for him."

Thanks Carl. I'll have photos and a short interview with Carl on Thursday from Canberra Airport as he flies out to join the Socceroos in Singapore...for that pre-season workout!
Enjoy it Carl.


Sunday, 17 June 2007

Canberra's best male team

Thought I'd start the Canberra Eleven. Basically the best guys running around from Canberra. I'll have a female version in a few weeks

Positions? Well, we need a goalie and a broad definition of defence, midfield and forwards.

Now, I'm hardly an expert so open to criticism and offers of players. Think you have a better player, then email and I'll update the list.

So here goes:


2 Nikolai Topor-Stanley
3. Joe Siminuc
4. Ned Zelic
5. Lindsay Wilson

6. Carl Valeri
7. Shaun Ontong
8. Kaz Patafta
9.Matthew Kemp

10 Adam Casey
11.Peter Buljan

okay, who have I left out who should be in, and who is the best goalkeeper going around?
Peter correctly pointed out Kaz,how did I forget him given I'd just posted a story on him two or three posts ago.
Out goes Alex Castro ex Cosmos and now local player in comes Kaz Patafta, Benfica


Even Teddy wants to play!

Teddy sees RED?

During a girls junior game yesterday things weren't going to well. The yellow team were a player down and of course in the spirit of fair play the other team plays a player more. It's an under 8 competition so any advantage is important. Right!

So when the blue team, who had a wonderful goalie who could kicked the ball the length of the field, released their forward who was all on her own, she was sure to score.

The crowd groaned or cheered as the star forward ran alone towards the goal. Thump, the goalie dived and smothered the shot saving a certain goal. Eruptions on the sidelines

Half-Time 0-0

Blue Coach had it sorted. Place one striker near the goal and boot the ball down the field to her. The yellow team a player down were never going to be able to cover her.

And then the super big kicking goalie came out, not only could she kick, but she could run and dribble. She released her mate, who promptly scored.

but the Ref blew.

"No goal."


"Loitering is not allowed."

At this point her brother threw his teddy on to the field of play. And there it lay Teddy Bear.

Who said it's only a game?

Ever heard of a goal being disallowed for loitering.

For the record, Blue team won 2-0, and the big kicking goalie is a star of the future for sure.


Saturday, 16 June 2007

Rumour: Canberran off to Melbourne Victory?

Is Kaz Patafta set to sign for Victory?

Kaz Patafta is a rising star of Australian football. Currently with Benfica in Portugal, this ex-Radford College student is rumoured to be ready to sign a loan deal with Melbourne Victory.

I have no way of knowing how close this is to being a done deal. Tuesday is supposed to be the day for the announcement.

Good deal for Kaz? Yes, he would play for Victory in front of 30,000 plus crowds, Asian Champions League and maybe the Olyroos.

As history shows any player who can make a good impact in the old NSL or A-League can make it big overseas. Vinny Grella, Brett Emerton, and Jason Culina haven't done so badly have they.

Should Kaz come back for a couple of years? Why not, if he gets game time in Australia it won't do his development any harm.

What say you?


Friday, 15 June 2007

From Tuscany to Canberra for Carl Valeri

Socceroo Carl Valeri enjoying his annual holiday in Canberra

copyright: football in the capital

"Can we sit inside!"

Still Singapore and Thailand should be a little warmer. Carl has had a two week break before joining up with the squad for some serious pre-season training as the Socceroos prepare to win the Asia Cup.


Socceroo players miss pre-season for Australia

Graham Arnold asks for understanding
Socceroo players will miss pre-season training with their clubs to play for Australia.
Speaking by teleconference today, Arnold said, "Asian league's all have a mid-season break. Apart from a couple of Japanese or Korean players in Europe the rest are all in Asian leagues. We have a lot of players in Europe and they all miss their clubs pre-season. They are very committed to playing to Australia, and this shows their commitment."
Fair point Arnie.
Take Mark Viduka, about to play for Newcastle. He will miss most of their pre-season.
If you were paying an employee a rumoured $400,000 a week, you'd want him there for the pre-season period.
Or Harry Kewell. He missed all of last season after playing at the World Cup.
Not easy for the players, but the turn-out for the Asia Cup is very impressive.