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Friday, 30 May 2008

The Weekender: The threat from Iraq.

You've heard of the Glasgow kiss well what about the Baghdad caress.


From the left Iraqi stars Younis Mahmoud, and Hawar Mulla Mohammed. This photo was taken at last year's Asian Cup in Bangkok, just after Hawar had given Younis a Baghdad caress in the middle of a game.

The Weekender this week reflects on my first meeting with the two stars of the Asian Cup Champions, and my first ever question at a Press Conference.


During a tense moment in the game against Thailand, Hawar Mulla Mohammed nutted Younis Mahmoud.

Younis, the Iraqi captain, had failed to pass the ball, so Hawar made the caress.

I have no problem with that. Passing is important in any game after all and these things need to be kept in proportion. I think Hawar did.

The next day wandering around the players hotel, the lift door opened and look who were together, although not to close!

"We're all friends now, " I suggested to the two Iraqi's.

Hawar laughed and put his arm around Younis. "No problem." he said.

The story didn't end there. At the Press Conference before the Iraq Australian game in the Asia Cup, Hawar was the player designated to speak with his Coach Jorvan Viera.

Well I'd been to about five press conferences by this time in my life. I was bored silly listening to Graham Arnold, Brett Emerton, and others having to answer questions over and over about the heat, the preparation and the preparation and the heat.

Arnie's facial reactions were of interest but that's another story.

So when Hawar walked in I thought some serious journo from SBS, The Sydney Morning Herald or elsewhere would ask about the headbutt.



No-one did. I waited and waited but no-one did. Apparently few, if any, had seen the incident. So I asked the question at the Press Conference. My first ever question.

"Hawar, given you gave your Captain a Baghdad Caress in the last game, how is your relationship with Younis Mahmoud now."

Hawar was apologetic, said he didn't mean and things are fine.

But then the Iraqi Coach Jorvan Vieira, who is a tremendously warm and friendly man, it must be said, asked me a question!

In the middle of the Press Conference. That will teach me to open my mouth.

What did he ask?

"Do you have brothers?"

To which I replied, "I do, three." Because I do have three.

"When you were young (nice dig Jorvan) did you not fight with your brothers."

Well I'm not going to let him a way with that am I.

"Yes I did, but now I'm older I don't," I replied. "And wouldn't you be concerned such indiscipline could be punished by the AFC?"

"It's not a problem. We deal with things in our own way."

No worries Mr. Vieira, and I'm impressed the way you defended your player. But in England Lee Bowyer and Kieran Dyer earned suspensions for having handbags in the middle of a game, so why not your player?

Anyway I didn't ask another question at any press conference for the rest of the day:)

Here's what www.sportal.com.au Chief of Staff, Bren O'Brien wrote the next day.

http://sportal.com.au/default.aspx/football-news-display/iraqi-coach-dismisses-disharmony-30955

On Sunday these guys will be a major threat to our World Cup hopes. Hawar will burn down the left wing and Younis Mahmoud, Runner-Up in the AFC Player of the Year 2007, will hope to stun the passionate sell-out crowd with one or maybe more goals.

With Iraqi fans expected to be loud and proud, the tension of a World Cup Qualifier this promises to be the Australian sporting event of the year so far.

On a side note: Younis Mahmoud has his own website. He has a poll for fans asking where Younis should play next. Spain rates 50% ahead of England, France and Scotland with just 2%. He currently plays in Qatar.




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Matildas: Korea is now a crucial game.

Korea Republic beat Japan 3-1 last night in the Matildas group in the Asia Cup. So the group is now wide open.


The Matildas play Korea on Saturday; a win would mean the Matildas have four points, but would still need to beat Japan or draw on Monday, assuming all teams beat Taiwan.

Alternatively a defeat tomorrow, would mean a draw or a win against Japan would still see them through, but make the Japan game just a bit more nerve-racking.

Japan are ranked significantly higher than Korea so the next two games will be interesting!

From the highlights show on SBS:

Matildas played a very young side, but came through comfortably despite the conditions.
Ellyse Perry continues to shine. Some talent. Her crosses from the right, plus a rasping shot from 25 yards were wonderful.

I'd be surprised if she doesn't retain her place, and ditch that cricket:)
Heather Garriock took her goals well.
Canberra keeper Lydia Williams looked a little shaky on high balls.
Interesting to see Lauren Colthope in midfield.
Kim Carroll, Jenna Tristram have all worked hard to get back in the squad and got good game time.
Kyah Simon was quiet but showed enough.
The pitch was diabolical and made the game a total farce. With players reduced to juggling the ball to get it moving. What would happen if it rains against Japan or Korea?

A lot of experience to be added for the next game. The players should be fresh and ready to go.
And if it doesn't rain, the Matildas might get to play some real football.

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Blog talk..and me!

The Football Tragic's gone, but you're stuck with me:)

Blogs are still relatively new, particularly in Australian Football. But sadly one of our best bloggers Mike Salter www.thefootballtragic.blogspot.com
is retiring from the world of football blogging. Good luck Mikey you'll be missed. Let's hope we see another quality Aussie blogger arise from the terraces in Season 4.



Interestingly blogs get invaded occasionally on a daily, weekly, basis by the most unlikely of sources.

This blog continues to rise in hits. Hardly earth shattering numbers to some, but around 200 people a day come here. Hello!

And many over a month are repeat visitors.

A blog knows no boundaries. Only Government Departments and Large Companies can stop people visiting this one, and they do!

In recent weeks I've received emails from Japan, UK, Singapore, South Africa, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Italy and across Australia. All are interesting, often wise, rarely insulting. I'm please to say. All talk the language of the World, football.

Occasionally we get fans invading from around the world.

I mentioned Joe Simunic would be interested in moving to Celtic or Rangers on this blog around January. Some Celtic fan put it on a website some 3 months later, and it wasn't me, and the hits to this site went up by 500% in one day.

Similarly when news of Wellington Phoenix bringing their Youth team to Canberra, fans from Wellington came in their swarm to give this blog it's biggest ever single day total.

And this week, I've been invaded by Everton fans Presumably for writing something about Wayne Rooney the former Evertonian making a great pass for Man United.

Any talk of Socceroos, particularly around game time always lifts the hits.

Women's football attracts significant, consistent interest. Where else can you go to get weekly news of the Matildas. Got me beat, but let me know if you know a site.

But mostly the blog hums along, with a steady but significant rise, doubling it's daily viewers over the last three months.

Not bad for a guy "unable to work due to poor health," that's what my employer of 4,000 teachers said. Dumped from the Australian booming economy at 43! Great, bloody great.

They couldn't find a way to keep me! My skills were that bad?

So through the computer in my front room, football, blogging, and podcasting has enabled me to learn new skills, interview many stars of the game, and mostly through my phone.

I go to maybe five games live a year, and this is reducing, but the TV is a wonderful thing! Thank God for Foxtel.

Ok I can't walk too far, spend afternoons, every afternoon in bed. I know I know you dream of such luxury. I have a number of medical problems too tedious to mention, but like the guy from Monty Python with his hands and legs cut off, "Come on I'm still fighting,"

So while Mikey, the Football Tragic may be gone, moving onwards, and hopefully upwards, I suspect I'll be around for a while yet, unless my sodding health improves.

Socceroos, Matildas to win. Anyone, anyone?

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India...just cricket fans...dream on Aussie media.

120,000 plus 20,000 locked out for football in India.

You know the sterotype, India loves cricket, the IPL, cricket, India etc.


Well I'm not suggesting their passion for cricket is lessening, but don't let anyone tell you football isn't a significant game in India.

1. India surprised many by gaining acceptance to the Pro-Asian Champions League to start next year along with just 11 other Asian Countries including Australia.

2. An astonishing 120,000 crowd packed the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Tuesday, but even the world’s second-largest stadium was not big enough for Bayern. A further 20,000 potential spectators were locked out of the ground.

3. Still not convinced. Have a look at this youtube video. Kolkata Derby,looks like a crowd to me!!!!!

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Carl Valeri on the move?

SBS are reporting that Canberra's Socceroo Carl Valeri could be on the move, possibly to Serie A. Carl is Captain of Grosseto in Serie B.

No mean feat for a Canberran to Captain a team in a foreign country.

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Matildas win.

Canberrans Lydia Wiliams and Caitlin Munoz played in the Matildas Asia Cup opener.

MATILDAS OPEN ASIAN CUP CAMPAIGN WITH VICTORY

Australia have opened their campaign at the 2008 AFC Women's Asian Cup with a 4-0 win over Chinese Taipei in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, tonight.

A first half double from midfielder Heather Garriock set the Australians on their way, with striker Jenna Tristram and substitute Lisa De Vanna rounding out the scoring with goals either end of the second half.

The match commenced in extreme humidity before a torrential downpour midway through the first half saw water remain pooled on the pitch throughout the second period making passing and ball control impossible at times.

"I'm very pleased with the result and particularly so given the circumstances in which the match was played," said Australian coach Tom Sermanni.

"Chinese Taipei were very well organised defensively and made life difficult for us but our team adapted well."

"Once the rain came it made playing football impossible but without doubt the players performed admirably in very trying conditions. We fielded quite a young team tonight but they were very solid throughout and helped us get off to a strong start in this tournament.

Australia now meet Korea Republic on Saturday at 10.30pm (AEST), with the final group game against Japan on Monday also at 8pm (AEST).

For more match details see www.footballaustralia.com.au
http://www.footballaustralia.com.au


Match Details:-

Australia 4 (Heather Garriock 18', 41', Jenna Tristram 52', Lisa De Vanna 82’)


Chinese Taipei 0

Australian line-up: Lydia Williams (gk); Ellyse Perry (Clare Polkinghorne 65'), Kim Carroll, Kate McShea, Karla Reuter, Lauren Colthorpe, Amber Neilson, Heather Garriock (Tameka Butt h/t), Kyah Simon, Jenna Tristram, Caitlin Munoz (Lisa De Vanna 63').

Cautions: nil

Referee: Hong Sil Ri (DPR Korea)


BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
The Matildas squad for the 2008 AFC Women's Asian Cup:

Goalkeepers – Melissa Barbieri (Melbourne), Lydia Williams (Canberra)
Defenders – Di Alagich (Sydney), Kim Carroll (Brisbane), Kate McShea (Brisbane), Ellyse Perry (Sydney), Clare Polkinghorne (Brisbane), Karla Reuter (Brisbane), Cheryl Salisbury (Newcastle)
Midfielders – Tameka Butt (Gold Coast), Amy Chapman (Canberra), Lauren Colthorpe (Brisbane), Heather Garriock (Sydney), Ella Mastrantonio (Perth), Collette McCallum (Perth), Amber Neilson (Newcastle)

Forwards – Lisa De Vanna (Perth), Kate Gill (Newcastle), Caitlin Munoz (Canberra), Kyah Simon (Sydney), Jenna Tristram (Brisbane),
(current home city)
First Round
Wednesday - 28 May 2008
Match 1: China vs Thailand
Match 2: DPR Korea vs Vietnam

Thursday - 29 May 2008
Match 3: Australia vs Chinese Taipei
Match 4: Japan vs Korea Republic

Friday - 30 May 2008
Match 5: Thailand vs DPR Korea
Match 6: Vietnam vs China

Saturday - 31 May 2008
Match 7: Chinese Taipei vs Japan
Match 8: Korea Republic vs Australia

Sunday - 1 June 2008
Match 9: China vs DPR Korea
Match 10: Thailand vs Vietnam

Monday - 2 June 2008
Match 11: Australia vs Japan
Match 12: Chinese Taipei vs Korea Republic

Tuesday - 3 June 2008 - Rest Day
Wednesday - 4 June 2008 - Rest Day

Semi Finals
Thursday - 5 June 2008
Match 13: Winner Group A v Runner-Up Group B
Match 14:Winner Group B v Runner-Up Group A

Friday - 6 June 2008 - Rest Day
Saturday 7 June 2008 - Rest Day

Finals & 3rd/4th Play Off
Sunday - 8 June 2008
3rd/4th Play Off: Loser Match 13 vs Loser Match 14
Final: Winner Match 14 vs Winner Match 14

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Thursday, 29 May 2008

Game on, now here's my team?

Iraq, the Asian Champions, with style and pace to burn. Australia lacking forward firepower, defensive cover.

We must win our home games. 52,000 sell-out. Now this is football.

My team below, is it good enough?

Mark Schwarzer

Brett Emerton, Jade North Michael Beauchamp David Carney

Luke Wilkshire Vince Grella, Jason Culina Marco Bresciano

Bruce Djite Scott Mcdonald

Subs:
Carl Valeri
Harry Kewell
Brett Holman
Nicky Carle
Nikolai Topor-Stanley


Lucas Neill is absent, also Mile Stejovski. Neill's absent causes me particular concern.

A combination of Pim's previous selections, plus his need to win the game has influenced my choice.

Pim should be slightly more adventurous at home...maybe. But after a stuttering second half performance against Qatar, a cautious approach against China, will Pim go for it against the Asian Champions. This is Pim's first real test.

He's got a good squad at his disposal, a very strong oppostion. How will he cope?

We'll certainly be tested in this game, particularly in defence.

Do we have the firepower to win? Certainly have the players, but who to play, to win the game, is the conundrum.

Will Pim leave Harry out? I doubt it? Will he play McDonald upfront without support? I doubt it.

I've gone for Bruce Djite over Harry Kewell. More pace, match fit, will force the game. Bruce I mean. And he'll provide fuel for McDonald's tap-ins:)

Emerton must play full back. The pace of the Iraqi forward line dictates this, plus the big question marks over Michael Beauchamp.

Vinnie Grella needs to have a stand-out game. Midfield control is crucial for Australia, for ninety minutes.

Should be a cracker. And we could win it from the bench with Harry Kewell to lift the crowd from the wing in the second half.

Can't wait.

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Who said this?

“Football is the most truly global sport of all. Football brings people together from all corners of the world. Australia is a country of extraordinary ethnic and cultural diversity, which we are very proud of.

"It also is a country of immigrants. They brought a living passion for football."

Answer below
Kevin Rudd, Australian Prime Minister as he welcomed all FIFA Congress participants.

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Millions unite Sydney and Melbourne

Millions and millions and millions.

The word of today from Sydney and Melbourne is millons, lots of them.
“Football is played by millions of children around the world and by more young Australians than any other sport.

“We are delighted to have young Australians participating in this important FIFA event in Australia, “said FFA CEO Ben Buckley promoting the opening of the FIFA World Congress tomorrow.

And in Melbourne....
Millions set to watch Melbourne Victory face Juventus.



Melbourne Victory CEO Geoff Miles today confirmed that millions of viewers will join a massive crowd at Telstra Dome when the club takes on Italian giant Juventus this Friday.

Less than 5000 tickets remain for the blockbuster friendly and will be available at the gate prior to the match.

“We still have some good seats left and we’re very confident that there’ll be a massive crowd at Telstra Dome tomorrow night,” Miles said.

“There are now seats available from $34 for adults, so we encourage Melbourne Victory fans, Juventus fans and sports lovers to be at Telstra Dome for this special event.”

Juventus’ legion of supporters, which totals over 170 million worldwide, will also be able to watch the match, with 24 broadcasters set to stream to 99 countries.

“We’re thrilled to confirm that the television coverage for the game will be huge.

“The game will be broadcast to 99 countries throughout the world, including Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and America, and of course through Fox Sports in Australia.

“It’s a great opportunity to promote our beautiful city throughout the world to an audience of millions, reinforcing Melbourne’s position as the premier sport and event city in the world.”

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Fuelwatch renamed footballwatch!

Sick of Fuelwatch...well now there's Footballwatch.

The Federal Government concerned about increasing obesity in Australia, has announced "football watch" on the back of it's widely known fuelwatch.

"Basically people can log in anytime any place and see where football's are being kicked, in which state, which town and even at which club," said a spokeswoman for the Government.

Other codes are complaining. "First they get more funding than us now this. It's not fair," said Peter Fitzsimons, Roy Masters, Paul Kent, Spiros Zavos and all the Herald Sun journos in unison. "Our code demands heavier players like Matt Dunning and co, and our ball isn't kicked by many kids because our game is for real men."

The AFL CEO Andrew Demitriou looked up from the AFL bank balance to consider a reply, but said they would get back to us once all their gate receipts from last weekend were spent...er I mean counted.

For the real story read the http://au.fourfourtwo.com/news/77061,labor-football-to-fight-the-flab.aspx below. Makes you wonder what is going on in this country.



Labor: Football To Fight The Flab
EXCLUSIVE: The Rudd government has reiterated its support for football saying it wants to boost the code’s playing numbers to help tackle childhood obesity.
Minister for Sport Kate Ellis was on hand at the launch of the FFA and UNICEF partnership. She told au.fourfourtwo.com that the announcement shows how far football in Australia has come.

“World football has seen a remarkable transformation in recent times," she said.

"And the federal government wants to make sure that we help bed that down so the sport can continue to grow at enormous rates.”

The Minister pointed to a 22% increase across the board in registered numbers playing the game over the last five years.

“We have noticed the huge participation rates [in football] and our government has a keen focus on preventive health and we know that we need to address childhood obesity," she said.

“When you have a look at the number of kids that have got a round ball with them, that’s very encouraging. And it’s something we want to see continuing into the future.”

And while Ellis was keen to point out the government wasn’t slashing funding for other codes, there is no doubt that the Rudd government sees football’s popularity and global dimensions as an electoral plus.

As an example of this relationship, yesterday was the third time in a week a member of the Federal government had turned up to an FFA announcement.

Last week the Prime Minister spoke out at a press call for the 2018 World Cup bid alongside Harry Kewell and Ellis was named as one of the FFA's Football Ambassadors.

It highlights the special relationship between football’s national governing body and the federal government in 2008.

The Rudd government has been true to its word, too. It backed up its election promises to FFA with substantial funding (around $35m) while other football codes – Rugby Union in particular – were not so lucky.

MC for the UNICEF announcement, Andy Harper, pointed out that football was in the unusual position of “having other codes complain about our funding”.

However, Ellis added she was under no illusion about the task of securing an historic first ever World Cup on Australian soil.

She added: “Frank Lowy and Ben Buckley are doing a fantastic job and we have come out in support of their bid for the World Cup.

"So they do need some assistance in terms of facilities and grassroots support to keep the game on the move.

“But it’s the biggest sporting event in the world and Australia has a great history of hosting major events so we want to show FIFA and the world that we can do a great job of hosting a World Cup.”

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Wednesday, 28 May 2008

FFA to assist Indigenous Children.

FFA and UNICEF to join forces to assist children in Indigenous Communities in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Iraq. Good stuff.

Football Federation Australia and UNICEF team up for children
Football Federation Australia (FFA) and UNICEF Australia today launched a new partnership to
benefit vulnerable children in Australia and throughout the Asia Pacific region.
Frank Lowy AC, Chairman of the FFA, announced the partnership in Sydney today, on the eve of the
opening of the FIFA World Congress.
The FFA joins FIFA and a prestigious group of global football bodies, clubs and players partnering
with UNICEF.
The partnership follows in the footsteps of FIFA’s support for UNICEF through the FIFA World Cup
and Women’s World Cup, UNICEF’s partnerships with Barcelona FC, Manchester United and Real
Madrid, and support by UNICEF Ambassadors such as David Beckham and Harry Kewell.
Ben Buckley, the FFA’s CEO said the entire football family is thrilled to partner with UNICEF.
“Football has the power to unite children all over the world,” Mr Buckley said.
“Football in Australia is going through a growth period and what better way to take advantage of this
than to join the global football community in its partnership with UNICEF to help vulnerable children
throughout our region.”
Initially, the FFA partnership will support UNICEF community development programs for children in
Papua New Guinea and elsewhere in south-east Asia, as well as Indigenous communities within
Australia.
In addition, donations collected at the Qantas Socceroos FIFA World Cup qualifying match against
Iraq at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday 1 June will support projects for children in Iraq.
“Sport and play are important to UNICEF because they are vital elements in the health, happiness and
well-being of children and young people,” UNICEF CEO Carolyn Hardy said.
“UNICEF achieves results and together with the FFA, we will use sport-based programs to deliver
important messages about child health and well being, improve children’s lives and strengthen
communities. Outreach to FFA supporters in Australia will provide vital funds for these programs,” she
said.
The partnership for children is being promoted extensively at the upcoming World Cup qualifying
matches in Australia and overseas through match day announcements, advertisements featuring
QANTAS Socceroo ambassadors and promotion to Football Australia supporters.
UNICEF relies on voluntary donations, and members of the public are encouraged to support the
Indigenous Australian and Asia Pacific projects the FFA is supporting by calling 1300 884 233 or
visiting www.footballaustralia.com.au or www.unicef.org.au

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Matildas: Sarah Walsh will be missed.

"Sarah Walsh will be missed."

Coach Tom Sermanni speaking from the Matildas training camp in Vietnam on the eve of the Australians opening Asia Cup game against Chinese Taipei said, "First priority is to make sure we qualify for the next stage.

"I have a philosophy about going into football matches, and we talk about it in the dressing room, when you are out on the football pitch you never actually know if we are going to win games, but we always have a philosophy in this team now that we go out to win games, and it's the same going into this tournament.

"I don't know if we'll win the tournament but we're certainly going into the tournament and that's what we'd like to do.

"Our first priority is to make sure we qualify for the next stage. If we do that, have a look at what shape we're in, who we're then going to play in the semi-finals that will give us a better judge of where we're at.

"(In the past)Teams had generally understimated us. Teams thought we were just a big hard working strong team without any quality. We surprised everybody in 2006 and 2007.

"A bit like the Socceroos in the Asian Cup, we've now become one of the team that other teams want to beat. That makes life a bit more difficult. But it's a good thing.

"One great thing about this team in the last three years whoever comes into the team has performed well. We've tried to create an environment where young players or new players of any age come in they feel part of the team straight away.

"Overall, around this team there is a greater air of confidence that we can match it with the best in the world now. Once you get that attitude at the highest level amongst the players it tends to flow right down. So players coming into the team aren't intimidated either.

"Sarah Walsh will be missed, but we have some good strong back-up. If you look at our striking resources at the moment we've got Lisa De Vanna and Kate Gill, who are doing exceptionally well in Sweden, young Kyah Simon who has burst onto the scene and we've got Caitlin Munoz who has a habit of scoring important goals for us," said Sermanni.

Matildas have nine changes from their World Cup campaign forcing Sermanni to draft in new, younger players.

"I'm concerned about all areas of the team," laughs Sermanni.

"Probably in midfield we've lost a little bit of cohesion with Jo Peters and Sally Shipard not being here, they have been two regulars with the team over the last three years, and Heather (Garriock) who's been intermittently with the team this year, also Joey Burgess (is out), this is probably the area where we've been hardest hit with senior players, but saying that we've still got players with pace and players who we think can dictate games.

Highlights of first game SBS 5pm Friday.

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A-League Record Transfer Fee?

Newspaper talk reports Bruce Djite's transfer has netted Adelaide United $850,000 plus a sell-on clause.
With the minuscule amounts received for David Carney and others, this is surely good news for Australian clubs.

While we don't want to see these guys go, when they do, it should be for a reasonable fee.

Nice to see some extra funds flowing into Australian football.

With all the doom and gloom surrounding the revenue problems with Basketball, NRL Club's and Rugby Union in the last few days good to see some good financial news for Aussie sporting teams.

Surely players like James Holland, Stuart Musialik, Nathan Burns, Nikolai Topor-Stanley will all add to club revenues if and when they head overseas in coming years.

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Steve Hayes. Canberra football export

NSW Football Federation highlighted former Canberra and Belconnen Blue Devils player Steve Hayes in this weeks newsletter. Steve is another example of a Canberra player who has to move from the city to better himself in a football sense.

Steve Hayes is loving life in the Wollongong FC midfield at the moment.
The 23-year-old electrician, who was raised in Canberra,.......

Steve Hayes is loving life in the Wollongong FC midfield at the moment.
The 23-year-old electrician, who was raised in Canberra, is currently adding the spark to his side in the TeleChoice Premier League.

“We are on a bit of a roll at the moment so hopefully we can keep it going,” he said. “I am enjoying playing for Wollongong and it’s good under [coach] John Turner.

“All the boys have pulled together well and the morale within the team couldn’t be better at the moment.”

Given that Hayes grew up in the nation’s capital it was inevitable that he would end up at the Australian Institute of Sport after going through the various development programs in the ACT.

After a brief stint at the AIS, Hayes started his career in the TeleChoice Premier League with the Belconnen Blue Devils before moving to Wollongong FC where he has now been for three years.

Hayes, who prefers the central midfield position, also enjoys going forward in an attacking role.

“I love going forward, so whenever I can I go forward in a game,” he stated.

With his contract expiring at the end of the season Hayes, like many other players, would love the chance to show his worth in the A-League.

“Obviously I would love to play in the A-League,” he said. “In the end, wherever football takes me that’s where I want to go.

“Yes, I am definitely concerned about the limited number of A-League teams and therefore limited A-League spots to fill.

“However, you really have to be on top of your game if you are going to get a chance in that competition.

“It’s all about getting that chance, getting your foot in the door and then taking it with two hands if it comes along.

“I am waiting for my chance and, hopefully, it comes around soon and if it does I’ll certainly take it.”

by Joe Russo


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12 flights 12 days.

Bruce Djite has signed for Turkish side Genclerbirligi. Everyone knows that. Good luck to Bruce. Surely a future 2010 Socceroo striker.

To seal the deal. He undertook 12 flights in 12 days. Four to China with Adelaide United, then back part way and across to Turkey for medicals and then back to Adelaide to clearout; and then up to Brisbane for Socceroos duty.

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Best footballer, best cook?

Adelaide United housemates Bruce Djite, Nathan Burns, Kristian Sarkies and Shaun Ontong shared the most talented football house in the country last season. They can all play but can they cook?

According to Newcastle Jets new signing Shaun Ontong who joined us on Nearpost radio last night, Kristian Sarkies is "the" cook, in that household.

So how will Shaun cope without Sarkies the Cook in his new abode in Newcastle?

Shaun wasn't looking forward to being without a cook. But we hear Kaz Patafta is a good cook as well:)

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Tassie Youth to play A-League

Former Canberra Olympic left-back Martin Shaw is now CEO of Football Tasmania. He's organised four Tassie Youth team games against four A-League Youth sides in the coming months. Expect news from Canberra soon.


May 27, 2008 12:00am

A Tasmanian youth soccer team will play against four youth teams from A-League clubs later this year.

Tasmania will play against teams from Sydney FC, Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United, which will be competing in the new National Youth League.

"We are pleased that Football Federation Australia has supported our request to play matches against NYL teams," Football Federation Tasmania CEO Martin Shaw said.

"This will not only provide a wonderful opportunity for Tasmania's best young players to test themselves against some of the best young players in Australia but will also give the Tasmanian public an opportunity to watch high-standard football."

Two games will be played in Tasmania, against Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory, while another two against Sydney FC and Adelaide United will be played as A-League curtain-raisers.

The National Youth League will commence in the coming A-League season, with all clubs except Wellington represented.

The teams will consist of players aged 17 to 21, with clubs able to play four over-age players in their team.

The Tasmanian squad will aim to limit their over-age players to under-23s to provide an opportunity for young players to continue their development.

"We are continuing to try to provide a pathway for Tasmanian players to excel at football and we believe the opportunity to play at this level is another step in that direction," Shaw said.

THE SCHEDULE:
Friday, November 7, Tasmania v Sydney FC, in Sydney

November 15 or 16, Tas v Adelaide United

November 29 Tas v Melbourne Victory

December 5, Tas v Adelaide United, in Adelaide

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Nearpost Radio: Shaun Ontong, Amy Chapman

Nearpost Radio:

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This week: Newcastle Jets new signing Shaun Ontong joins us in the Studio. Socceroo talk. Amy Chapman gives us all the Matildas news from Vietnam see below for all the details



We've got an interview with Matildas Star Amy Chapman who is in Vietnam for the Asia Cup.
Newcastle Jets new signing and former Adelaide United player Shaun Ontong joins us in the studio to discuss Adelaide United's historic journey in Asia.
We look back on the Socceroos against Ghana and preview the World Cup Qualifer against Iraq.
News, quiz questions, dedications and more

Second half;
Locally Russ and Chris wrap all the Men and Women's Premier League scores.
All the news from Capital Football and the city of Canberra.
Extended interview with former Belconnen junior Shaun Ontong.
Junior football with Woden Valley President Alan Hinde.

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Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Come on Mr Blatter let Iraq play

The Iraq team is in Brisbane. Mr Blatter wants to ban the Iraq team from playing. Maybe that is fair enough, but for the good of football let them play.

But ban them after the game if you must. Let the suspension take place from Monday, if and only if, things can't be sorted.
What sort of goose bans a team who has arrived to play football, with $3 million tickets sold already sold.

We care about football. Let the teams play.

and isn't it about time some Aussie journo asked a few questions about Sepp's timing or are they all too scared?

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Matildas Confident

FFA tell us:

Matildas goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri believes the Australian team has the ability to be crowned Asian champions despite significant changes from the squad that reached the quarter finals at last year's FIFA Women's World Cup.



The Matildas will be looking to become the first Australian team to win an Asian championship when they tackle the continent's finest at the AFC Women's Asian Cup in Ho Chi Minh City over the coming fortnight. The Australian team narrowly missed out two years ago after losing the final on penalties against China in Adelaide.

Only 11 members of the 21-strong squad that took the field last year in China are present in Vietnam, with the current squad hit by a number of injuries and unavailability. The squad features a number of current Young Matildas with a total on nine players 21 years old or younger.


"The recent performances against the United States and Canada give us confidence in ourselves despite all the changes in the squad," says Barbieri, Australia's most capped male or female goalkeeper.


"You would expect the changes to disrupt us but that hasn't been the case to any great degree and we firmly believe that we can win it.

"The young players are not all intimidated by name teams or quality players which is refreshing and the signs are very good for the team despite the changes."

The Matildas will open their AFC Women’s Asian Cup campaign against Chinese Taipei on Thursday, followed by the match against Korea Republic on Saturday with the final and crucial group match against Japan on Monday.

"At the moment we are concentrating on making the semi final as our first goal and then anything is possible."

"As a team we certainly have the attributes to make the final and we are looking to go one better than we did two years ago.

"The weather conditions are a factor in how we prepare for the games but it is not an excuse. We are preparing well off the field and focussing on adapting to the conditions as best as possible."

Australia's overseas based contingent - Heather Garriock (Fortuna Hjorring, Denmark), Kate Gill and Lisa De Vanna (both AIK Solna, Sweden) arrived overnight and are set to train with the team for the first time tomorrow after completing their club commitments. Arriving later today are 16 year old midfielder E
lla Mastrantonio and striker Jenna Tristram who will join the squad as late replacements for Sarah Walsh and Joanne Burgess, meaning the full squad will train together just once before Thursday's opening match.



First Round
Wednesday - 28 May 2008
Match 1: China vs Thailand
Match 2: DPR Korea vs Vietnam

Thursday - 29 May 2008
Match 3: Australia vs Chinese Taipei
Match 4: Japan vs Korea Republic

Friday - 30 May 2008
Match 5: Thailand vs DPR Korea
Match 6: Vietnam vs China

Saturday - 31 May 2008
Match 7: Chinese Taipei vs Japan
Match 8: Korea Republic vs Australia

Sunday - 1 June 2008
Match 9: China vs DPR Korea
Match 10: Thailand vs Vietnam

Monday - 2 June 2008
Match 11: Australia vs Japan
Match 12: Chinese Taipei vs Korea Republic

Tuesday - 3 June 2008 - Rest Day
Wednesday - 4 June 2008 - Rest Day

Semi Finals
Thursday - 5 June 2008
Match 13: Winner Group A v Runner-Up Group B
Match 14:Winner Group B v Runner-Up Group A

Friday - 6 June 2008 - Rest Day
Saturday 7 June 2008 - Rest Day

Finals & 3rd/4th Play Off
Sunday - 8 June 2008
3rd/4th Play Off: Loser Match 13 vs Loser Match 14
Final: Winner Match 14 vs Winner Match 14

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Canberra A-League Bid dies?

Canberra's A-League bid appears dead in the water. Capital Football annointed A-League Bid co-ordinator Danny Moulis has stepped down from the position.

Despite Canberra being encouraged to put an A-League bid forward by the FFA, clearly unless a new group comes forward, with required finances,energy and business acumen, and fast, then Canberra will continue to be one of the few Capital cities across the world without a professional football team.

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Monday, 26 May 2008

Iraq suspended

FIFA report below that Iraq is suspended, but midnight 29 May is the last moment for the Iraq Government to ensure the Socceroo game on Sunday goes ahead. Otherwise Iraq are suspended for 1 year. No possible change.

World Cup qualification would be thrown out the window. Idiots?

Iraqi Football Association suspended

On the first day of its meeting in Sydney, the FIFA Executive Committee decided to suspend the Iraqi Football Association (IFA) as of today, 26 May 2008, following the governmental decree passed on 20 May which dissolved the Iraqi National Olympic Committee and all national sport federations, including the IFA.

The FIFA Executive Committee also decided that in accordance with art. 14, par. 1 of the FIFA Statutes, the case of the Iraqi Football Association would be presented to the FIFA Congress on 30 May for suspension until the FIFA Congress in 2009, namely one year.

However, the suspension decided upon today may be lifted if FIFA receives by 29 May, midnight (Sydney time), 16.00h CET, written confirmation from the Iraqi government that the decree has been annulled.

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Canberra mates to join up?

Kaz Patafta is a strong possibility to join his old Canberra Black Mountain training partner Shaun Ontong at Newcastle Jets. Still not confirmed, but I reckon it's a done deal. And we'll try and break Shaun Ontong on the Nearpost show on Tuesday to get all the goss!

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Sunday, 25 May 2008

Monday Wrap: Do you trust Sepp Blatter?

Sepp Blatter, Shop at Coles, Football feel good story, Iraq game in doubt, Matildas Asia Cup on the telly.


Iraq game is in doubt. Decision expected Tuesday. With $3 million tickets sold for the Socceroos/Iraq game the FFA will be sweating on the American....I mean Iraqi governments decision.

Do you trust FIFA President Sepp Blatter? He promised Australia World Cup places before, now he's teasing us with the "World Cup 2018 bid."

But the only reason we'll get it is because the Sydney Olympics has left a greatlegacy for everyone who came. So you just never know.

Shop at Coles.

Shopping and football. The perfect match? Well Australian food giant Coles have appointed former Glasgow Celtic FC Chief Executive Ian Maclean to run the show. Expect green and white bags at the checkout anyday now. And I've always hated Woolies.

Man United fan done good I reckon.

All English fans had to show their tickets to the Champions League Final, both at their point of exit from England and their point of entry to Russia.

No "extra" fans were allowed in the city. Thus avoiding scenes similar to those by Rangers fans after the UEFA Cup in Manchester the previous week.

And one fan had an extra ticket to sell. But there was no fans, touts, to sell it to. So he went up to a teenager who was selling United scarves and badges.

"Got a ticket for the game?" said the United fan.

"No" said the young fella.

"Here's one...for free."

And the lad left the stall there and then and ran into the ground. He'll never forget that will he!

Matilda Highlights

Asian Cup Matilda highlights will be shown on SBS. Starting 5pm this Friday. (The Matildas first game is on Wednesday.)

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Local News Wrap. Canberra FC the winners

Women's League news, Mens Premier Scores round-up with thanks to Russ Gibbs.

The push is on to secure a Canberra team in the women's league. With a decision expected on the make up of the new league soon, hope is growing that a region that has produced more women national players than Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia in recent years, will be in the league.

Men's League.
Canberra FC were the big winners on the weekend. They were the only team to win and close that gap to just one point on league leaders Belconnen who could only draw. The other winners were probably the ANU...who didn't play!

Great results for Queanbeyan City and Canberra City. Queanbeyan secured their first point of the season. And Canberra City grabbed a point against the higher placed Tuggeranong United.

Canberra FC 2 v 1 Canberra Olympic
Paul Ivanic scored, again, and John Ison got the winner ten minutes from time.

Tuggeranong United 1 v 1 Canberra City
Canberra City's Kevin Room scored with an overhead volley just before half-time. Simon Gemmell scored his third of the season eleven minutes into the second half.

City President Arthur Huggins was pleased with the result. More evidence of an improving Canberra City side?

O'Connor Knights 1 v 1 Belconnen United
Big clash with both sides sharing the points. David Leet scored the Belconnen goal, but with Canberra FC winning this could prove costly dropped points for both sides.

Woden Valley 2 v 2 Queanbeyan City
Goran Josifovski scored two as Queanbeyan City earned their first point of the season

Belconnen 16 points
Canberra FC 15
O'Connor Knights 9
Olympic 7
ANU 7
Tuggeranong 5
Canberra City 3
Woden Valley 2
Queanbeyan City 1

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Matildas: How will they go?

Don't suppose anyone in Australia has written an assessment of the Matilda's chances at the Asia Cup, so thought I should. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Asia Cup prediction: Matildas to make the final?

Everyone remembers the World Cup in China. It was only last year; and the Matildas made history by getting out of their qroup only to lose to Brazil in the quarter finals.

Now the Asia Cup is upon us. With the Socceroos in action, few will get to see or hear about the Matildas journey this time. I'll do me wee bit of course.

But how will they go? Should we expect further success, maybe even a victory. After all we came second in the Asia Cup last time it was held in Adelaide in 2006.

The Squad:

It is a different team this time, just six months after the World Cup. Sarah Walsh, Jo Peters, Jo Burgess, Sally Shipard, Thea Slatyer, Alicia Ferguson all missing for various reasons.

In come young hopefuls like Kyah Simon and Ellyse Perry and Amy Chapman.

Recent results have been encouraging. Narrow defeats in the USA, followed by a win over Canada will give Coach Tom Sermanni hope. If not to take this tournament out, then for the future.

Burgess, Peters, Ferguson may yet play again. But women's football is a younger game than men's. Seeing these three line-up with Di Alagich and Cheryl Salisbury in the heat of Vietnam would seriously reduce the teams mobility, I would think.

So youthful exuberence and inexperience is evident even if it's not by choice.

Collette McCallum will stride into the tournament more confident than the World stage she entered last year. How effective could she be?

Kyah Simon could be a bolt from the blue. Her goal return, despite her lack of experience could match that of injured star Sarah Walsh.

The defence is strong. Di Alagich and Cheryl Salisbury with the quickly improving Claire Polkinhorne and Lauren Colthorpe. Indeed in goal Lydia Williams is challenging Melissa Barbiera for the Number One spot.

Midfield is where change is biggest. Amy Chapman seems certain to start alongside Heather Garriock and Collette McCallum. Lauren Colthorp, Caitlin Munoz may also play various midfield roles depending on team strategy.

Caitlin Munoz could be vital to the success of the team. Either in midfield or upfront she provides Sermanni opions, variety at different stages in different games.

Lisa De Vanna. If she performs to her best Australia can beat anyone in Asia. Maybe even the North Koreans? But she may only play for fourty-five minutes per game. With Walsh gone, Australia need more from her.

Rising star Ellyse Perry may get game time. Particularly wide right. But she's still young in football terms. But she's smart, very smart and learns quickly.

Although there are many changes. The quality remains. If Kyah Simon, Ellyse Perry, and free scoring Amy Chapman can add something different, Australia may not win the tournament but they may have another outstanding campaign.

Despite Sermanni's cautious remarks about the draw, I reckon he is hopeful, very hopeful of going to the final. With the squad assembled, the recent results will give him confidence.

Injuries may yet come into play. Can Munoz last the tournament? Captain Salisbury is always a concern. International tournaments are hard on the players, particularly those carrying knocks.

But if the team remains injury free, and Amy Chapman or Kyah Simon add to their goals tally, only the heat should stop them reaching the semi finals. After that it's game on.




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Saturday, 24 May 2008

Harry Kewell v Ryan Giggs

Our Harry was back against Ghana. Captain as well. The flying left winger, compared favourably with Manchester United's Ryan Giggs in days of yore.

But while Giggs has reinvented himself as a wonderful inside player, Kewell has yet to rise above mediocre in that position for club, and more importantly for country.

When you think of Kewell at his best. He's influencing games, creating opportunities using his pace and skill.

For Leeds he was a magician time and time again. Occasionally for Liverpool he was outstanding. And even from his Liverpool days he has a goals video that most players would die for. Goals against Tottenham and Everton spring to mind.

For Australia. Who can forget his influence in the Uruguay home game? His second half performance against Brazil, Croatia, and even Singapore in the friendly before the Asia Cup.

All Harry's contributions of note have come from the left sided role he is a master of.

Last night, and against Singapore in the recent friendly, maybe for his health, maybe for the good of the team, and maybe because he lacks the left wingers pace these days, Harry played inside.

He may move inside. It looks like he will. But unlike Ryan Giggs, we've yet to see Harry control a game, make a number of killer passes, create opportunities for himself or get into forward positions to hurt players and teams.

Giggs and Kewell at their best were similarly effective as wingmen. Giggs relied more on pace than Kewell. Both have outstanding vision and footwork on the wing. Giggs extended his career by moving inside, with huge effect.

Can Kewell? Australia needs Harry over the coming years. If not to win the games, then certainly to add to our player depth.

But can Harry regain a level of impact that makes him an automatic starter?

Against Singapore and Ghana I saw nothing to say he is a definite starter, certainly not in the inside role he seems to prefer. In the Asia Cup his defensive work/energy was so poor, he was quickly moved out to the right wing.

Against Ghana I saw sloppy passes, a lack of time, and little advanced play of note coming from Harry.

Sure he did some good things, some nice things, but Harry is one of our finest. I expect more, more often.

I would like to have seen him popped out to the wing for ten minutes. One run, one creative play from Harry would have been worth the admission. And it would have given Australia one more attack, one more threat than we had. And there weren't many.

If Harry's wing days are behind him, he's still yet to convince his army of fans that he is "the one" when playing inside.

If Giggs can do it, reinvent himself, surely one with Kewell's skills can. But then again Giggs never missed as much football as Harry. Harry may be reduced to the Australia bench on more occasions than he would like if he doesn't show soon.

Is Kewell worth a start against Iraq?
And if so, as left sided player or an inside/midfielder come attacker?

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Canberrans off to Asia Cup

Sarah Walsh, Joey Burgess are out of Matildas Squad for the Asia Cup. Three Canberrans are in the squad, plus Ellyse Perry, Kyah Simon and the returning overseas players. FFA release below

MATILDAS HIT BY LOSS OF KEY PLAYERS ON EVE OF ASIAN CUP




The Matildas squad has been hit by the loss of key players on the eve of the AFC Women's Asian Cup losing experienced duo Sarah Walsh and Joanne Burgess less than a week out from the commencement of the tournament.
Australia will open their AFC Women’s Asian Cup campaign against Chinese Taipei on Thursday 29 May, followed by the match against Korea Republic on Saturday 31 May with the final group match against Japan on Monday 2 June.

Walsh who is one of Australia's all-time highest goalscorers, suffered a fractured leg in Friday night's 2-1 win over Canada in Sydney and is expected to be out of action for several months. Midfielder Burgess, another regular from last year's World Cup campaign has withdrawn due to family reasons.

Coach Tom Sermanni has called into his Asian Cup squad the three young players who were in camp during the week in Sydney. Young Matildas 16-year-old pair Tameka Butt and Ella Mastrantonio, along with striker Jenna Tristram will join the 21-strong squad which today departs for Vietnam.

Perth defender Mastrantonio is yet to make her debut at senior level while Gold Coast based midfielder Butt has already made four appearances for the Matildas including as a substitute in Friday's morale boosting victory over Canada. They will join fellow members of last year's Young Matildas team already selected for the tournament - Ellyse Perry, Kyah Simon, Clare Polkinghorne and Lydia Williams. 21 year old Tristram made a welcome return to the national team on Friday night having been absent for over twelve months after suffering a serious knee injury a day after making her Matildas debut in her home town of Coffs Harbour in April last year.

The Matildas will be aiming to become the first Australian team to be crowned Asian champions in the final in Ho Chi Minh City on June 8.


The Matildas squad for the 2008 AFC Women's Asian Cup:

Goalkeepers – Melissa Barbieri (Melbourne), Lydia Williams (Canberra)
Defenders – Di Alagich (Sydney), Kim Carroll (Brisbane), Kate McShea (Brisbane), Ellyse Perry (Sydney), Clare Polkinghorne (Brisbane), Karla Reuter (Brisbane), Cheryl Salisbury (Newcastle)
Midfielders – Tameka Butt (Gold Coast), Amy Chapman (Canberra), Lauren Colthorpe (Brisbane), Heather Garriock (Sydney), Ella Mastrantonio (Perth), Collette McCallum (Perth), Amber Neilson (Newcastle)

Forwards – Lisa De Vanna (Perth), Kate Gill (Newcastle), Caitlin Munoz (Canberra), Kyah Simon (Sydney), Jenna Tristram (Brisbane),
(current home city)


2008 Women's Asian Cup
28 May - June 8, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

2008 Peace Cup
June 14-21, Suwon, Korea

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Friday, 23 May 2008

The Weekender: Indigenous Football

The Weekender is an article written,usually by a Canberran, it covers football in it's broadest sense. And guarantees that every weekend Canberrans can find some football in the media written by one of their own.

Football: the final frontier?

A look at the world game taking root in remote Indigenous Australian communities

By

Terry Henry

I have been working in the Northern Territory since October last year. During this time I have travelled to many parts of the Territory visiting remote Aboriginal communities, from the Tanami Desert in the south, across the Top End, East Arnhemland, the Tiwi Islands, Groote Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria, out towards the WA border and the Barkly region over to the east on the Savannah Way.

Everywhere I have gone, the dominant sport has been Aussie Rules. Every sports field proudly displayed its four flagpoles at either end, with not a crossbar or net to be seen. Until now.




I have been working in the Northern Territory since October last year. During this time I have travelled to many parts of the Territory visiting remote Aboriginal communities, from the Tanami Desert in the south, across the Top End, East Arnhemland, the Tiwi Islands, Groote Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria, out towards the WA border and the Barkly region over to the east on the Savannah Way.

Everywhere I have gone, the dominant sport has been Aussie Rules. Every sports field proudly displayed its four flagpoles at either end, with not a crossbar or net to be seen. Until now.

Borroloola, a thousand kilometres from Darwin, or ten hours by road, is the final frontier of football, and is home to the Borroloola Cyclones, or, more correctly, FC Borroloola.

The club was founded in 1998 by Glenn Thompson who has lived in the area for over thirty years and works as caretaker for the Borroloola school. A self-confessed football tragic from Tasmania and supporter of Bolton Wanderers, Glenn is both President and coach of the Cyclones, a modern day missionary, spreading the gospel of football to Indigenous Australians.

It all started when he saw some local kids using a netball in a most unnetball-like way. Impressed by their natural talent, he bought some footballs, rounded up the kids and the rest, as they say, is history.

The challenge of running a football club in one of the most remote corners of Australia is truly daunting.

Hardly any of the kids own a pair of boots, finding teams to compete against is a major logistical exercise, and securing sponsors in a place where the economy is not exactly overflowing with employment opportunities are some of the problems Glenn faces.

But through his dedication and passion for the game Glenn is slowly starting a sporting revolution.

Recently, Glenn took the Cyclones up to Darwin where they narrowly lost to Darwin’s top juniors, Arafura Under 18’s by four goals to three, and backed up the next day to beat top league side Casuarina FC six-four.

As a result of the performance of both the boys and girls, a total of nine players from Borroloola have been selected to represent the Northern Territory in the upcoming National Selections in Coffs Harbour later this year.

Considering the population of Borroloola is only around six hundred, this is an outstanding tribute to Glenn and the young men and women of the community.

One of the club’s best players is Alistair Evans, eighteen, a left-footed striker of great promise. A number of A League scouts witnessed his performances in Darwin and were impressed with what they saw. Alistair has been invited to go to Brisbane in the near future to have a trial with the Queensland Roar A League club.

The impact on the people of Boorroloola and on football in the Northern Territory would be huge according to Glenn, if a player could make it through to the big-time. Other players to watch include Shane Anderson, fourteen, and seventeen year-old Lexine Riley (see photo).

What does the future hold for the Cyclones? The first priority is getting the nine players to the National Selections in Coffs harbour in July and September.

With the school’s support and help from local mining giant Xstrata, and local business, Red Dirt Trading, Glenn believes anything is possible.

I for one will be watching the National Selections with even keener interest than usual in the hope that one of the boys (or girls) from the bush can make it all the way to the top and push back this final frontier of football.

If you have a story or an opinion about football that you think Canberrans and others would be interested in please feel free to contact me, Eamonn.

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Matildas 2 Canada 1.

Canberra women strike for the Matildas.

If ever evidence was needed that Canberra should have a women's team in the National League, Caitlin Munoz and Amy Chapman provided those within the FFA with food for thought.

The two attackers from Canberra, Matildas stars Munoz and Chapman gave Australia a 2-0 half-time lead.

Canada came out strong in the second half. They scored one and hit the bar on a number of occasions.

An outstanding performance from a young Matildas side saw the team head off to the Asia Cup tomorrow with the perfect boost.

Canberra's Lydia William came on in the second half. As did the impressive Kyah Simon, just 17.

Lauren Colthorpe, and Claire Polkinghorne showed once again that the Matildas have secured two future stars. Their performances mature beyond their years.

World Cup heroes Collette McCallum, Cheryl Salisbury and Sarah Walsh were again outstanding particularly in the first half.

Crowd estimate at around 4,000.

Caitlin Munoz and Amy Chapman may just have forced a Canberra team into the National League!

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2018 World Cup side

Football Federation Australia (FFA) Chairman, Frank Lowy AC, today met with the young men who will carry the hopes of Australian football for the next decade.

Well some of them! These things change. Danai Gapare from Canberra was there. Well done Danai. But I'm sure Chris Bush and one or two others will be pushing hard.

And no pressure on our young fella's hey Frank!

WISHING AND HOPING - THE FACES OF 2018



Football Federation Australia (FFA) Chairman, Frank Lowy AC, today met with the young men who will carry the hopes of Australian football for the next decade.

The Australian Under 17 team – known as the Qantas Joeys – met with the team as they assembled in Sydney to watch their senior counterparts, the Qantas Socceroos, play an international friendly match against Ghana on Friday night.

“This is our football future,” Mr Lowy said.

“These young men are the faces of 2018 who will be the core of the team that fills our field of dreams in our bid to host and play in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.”

Mr Lowy said that he wants players around Australia, who have aspirations to be a footballer, to be committed to the Australian cause for 2018 and beyond.

“There is no greater honour than representing your country.

“Australia provides you with education, both academic and sporting, and I think it’s only fair that young people with sporting ability should choose with pride to play for Australia whether you are born here or come as a migrant or refugee.”

Mr Lowy said that he was delighted the Qantas Joeys reflected the diversity of the Australian population, comprising players from all over Australia and including some who had come to Australia as refugees and migrants.

He encouraged all of them to work hard at school and at football.

“Dreams do come true if you’re prepared to work hard.”

“Our bid for the 2018 FIFA World Cup is not a dry run,” he said.

“We want to host, play in and win the World Cup in 2018.”

ENDS
Profiles of the current Qantas Joeys are attached. The coach is Martyn Crook and assistant coach is Jean Paul de Marigny.



Qantas Joeys Profiles

Jared Lum (NSW)
Date of Birth: 19 July 1992
Place of Birth: Sydney
Height: 174
Weight: 64
Current Club : Sydney Wanderers
Junior Clubs: Winston Hills Bears (NSW), Hills Brumbies (NSW), Northern Spirit (NSW), Blacktown City Demons (NSW), Sydney Wanderers (NSW)
Institutes & Academies: NSW Institute of Sport
Playing Position: Midfielder
Qantas Joeys Appearances: 4
Debut Match: v Japan (L3-0), Friendly, Japan, August 2007
Last Match: v Malaysia (W2-0), AFC Qualifying, Singapore, October 2007

George Klappas (NSW)
Date of Birth: 17 Jan 1992
Place of Birth: Sydney
Height: 187
Weight: 75
Current Club: NSW Institute of Sport
Junior Clubs: Sydney Olympic (NSW), St George (NSW), Blacktown City (NSW)
Institutes & Academies: NSW Institute of Sport
Playing Position: Defender

Brendon Hamill (NSW)
Date of Birth: 18 Sep 1992
Place of Birth: Sydney
Height: 177
Weight: 68
Current Club: Sydney Wanderers (NSW)
Junior Clubs: Chipping Norton (NSW), Marconi (NSW), Parramatta Eagles (NSW), Sydney Wanderers (NSW)
Institutes & Academies: NSW Institute of Sport
Playing Position: Midfielder
Qantas Joeys Appearances: 3
Goals: 1
Debut Match: v Japan (L3-0), Friendly, Nagoya (JPN), August 2007
Last Match: v Korea Republic (W3-0), Friendly, Nagoya (JPN), August 2007


Marc Warren (NSW)
Date of Birth: 11 Feb 1992
Place of Birth: Sutherland (NSW)
Height: 172
Weight: 68
Current Club: Sutherland Sharks (NSW)
Junior Clubs: Menai Hawks (NSW), Sutherland (NSW)
Institutes & Academies: NSW Institute of Sport
Playing Position: Defender
Qantas Joeys Appearances : 4
Goals : 2
Debut Match: v Japan (L3-0), Friendly, Nagoya (JPN), August 2007
Last Match: v Malaysia (W2-0), AFC Qualifying, Singapore, October 2007


Lawrence Thomas (NSW)
Date of Birth: 9 May 1992
Place of Birth: Sydney
Height: 185
Weight: 85
Current Club: NSW Institute of Sport
Junior Clubs: Marconi, Bankstown, Blacktown
Institutes & Academies: NSW Institute of Sport
Playing Position: Goalkeeper

Robert Kolak (NSW)
Date of Birth: 23 Jan 1992
Place of Birth: Fairfield (NSW)
Height: 190
Weight: 72
Current Club: Sydney United (NSW)
Junior Clubs: Prairiewood United (NSW), Canley Heights (NSW), AC United (NSW), Sydney United Youth (NSW)
Institutes & Academies: NSW Institute of Sport
Playing Position: Goalkeeper

Anthony Perri (NSW)
Date of Birth : 14 Jan 1992
Place of Birth: Sydney
Height: 164
Weight: 68
Current Club: NSW Institute of Sport
Junior Clubs: Blacktown, St George, Oatley RSL
Institutes & Academies: NSW Institute of Sport

Niko Stanojevic (NSW)
Date of Birth : 25 Jun 1992
Place of Birth: Serbia
Height: 173
Weight: 68
Current Club: Bankstown City Lions (NSW)
Junior Clubs: White City (NSW), Croydon (NSW), Blue Eagles (NSW), Parramatta Eagles (NSW), Bankstown City Lions (NSW)
Institutes & Academies: NSW Institute of Sport
Playing Position: Striker
Qantas Joeys Appearances : 4
Debut Match: v Japan (L3-0), Friendly, Nagoya (JPN), August 2007
Last Match : v Malaysia (W2-0), AFC Qualifying, Singapore, October 2007

Phillip Lamin (QLD)
Date of Birth: 9 Oct 1992
Place of Birth: Sierra Leone
Height: 156
Weight: 56
Current Club: QAS
Junior Clubs: The Gap, Mitchelton, Rochedale
Institutes & Academies: QAS
Playing Position: Striker

Phil arrived in Australia 5 years ago as a refugee from Sierra Leone

Danai Gapare (ACT)
Date of Birth : 25 Feb 1992
Place of Birth : Zimbabwe
Height : 165
Weight : 65
Current Club: ACT Academy of Sport
Junior Clubs: West Point Grey SC (ACT), Woden Valley (ACT), Capital Football Youth (ACT)
Institutes & Academies: ACT Academy of Sport
Playing Position: Striker
Qantas Joeys Appearances : 3
Debut Match: v Japan (L3-0), Friendly, Nagoya (JPN), August 2007
Last Match: v Korea Republic (W3-0), Friendly, Nagoya (JPN), August 2007


Tedros Yabio (VIC)
Date of Birth : 14 Dec 1992
Place of Birth : Sudan
Height : 175
Weight : 65
Junior Clubs: Enfield (SA), Croydon (SA), Olympic (SA), Adelaide City (SA)
Institutes & Academies: Victorian Institute of Sport
Playing Position: Striker
Qantas Joeys Appearances: 4
Debut Match: v Japan (L3-0), Friendly, Nagoya (JPN), August 2007
Last Match: v Malaysia (W2-0), AFC Qualifying, Singapore, October 2007

Tedros arrived in Australia 13 years ago as a refugee from Ethiopia


Kamal Ibrahim (VIC)
Date of Birth: 26 Jul 1992
Place of Birth: Ethiopia
Height: 172
Weight: 61
Current Club: Victorian Institute of Sport
Previous Clubs: Altona East (VIC)
Junior Clubs: PDRE Melbourne (VIC), Altona East (VIC)
Institutes & Academies: Victorian Institute of Sport
Playing Position: Midfielder
Qantas Joeys Appearances : 4
Goals : 1
Debut Match: v Japan (L3-0), Friendly, Nagoya (JPN), August 2007
Last Match: v Malaysia (W2-0), AFC Qualifying, Singapore, October 2007

Kamal arrived in Australia 5 years ago as a refugee from Ethiopia

Million Butshiire (WA)
Date of Birth: 19 Jan 1992
Place of Birth: Goma (Congo)
Weight: 78
Current Club: FW National Training Centre
Previous Clubs: Perth Italia (WA)
Junior Clubs: Perth Italia (WA)
Institutes & Academies: Football West National Training Centre
Playing Position: Striker

Million arrived in Australia 4 years ago as a refugee from the Congo

Julius Davies (WA)
Date of Birth : 30 Sep 1992
Place of Birth: Liberia
Height: 158
Weight: 58
Current Club: FW Training Centre
Junior Clubs: Inglewood United
Institutes & Academies: FW Training Centre
Playing Position: Midfielder

Julius arrived in Australia 4 years ago as a refugee from Liberia

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Matildas team to face Canada.

According to the FFA website the starting side for tonights Matildas/Canada clash in Sydney is: Melissa Barbieri (gk); Clare Polkinghorne, Kate McShea, Cheryl Salisbury, Di Alagich, Joey Burgess, Lauren Colthorpe, Amy Chapman, Collette McCallum, Caitlin Munoz, Sarah Walsh.

Two Canberrans in the side. Amy Chapman and Caitlin Munoz. But the FFA also told me just minutes ago that the side won't be released until 4pm! So make of that what you will.

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Thursday, 22 May 2008

Adelaide through but who will ban Changchun

Ban the Chinese


Adelaide United qualified for the next leg of the Asian Champions League. A hard, nervy fought 0-0 draw was enough. For me the best player on the park was Aurelio Vidmar, closely followed by Nathan Burns. A great result for Adelaide and Australia.

But what about the Changchun fans. Who's going to ban them?

A number of bottles rained down as Lucas Pantelis went to take a corner late on. The Changchun fans clearly frustrated by their teams inability to score threw a number of bottles on to the pitch. With a running track around the stadium this was no mean feat.

So let's see what action the AFC will take. Ban them I say.

This isn't 1970's England. Chucking bottles on is so old-fashioned, and dangerous. Let's see the AFC set a standard right now.

Chuck the club out of Asia or at least make them play some games away from home or behind closed doors, and fine the Chinese FA.

But my guess is nothing will happen because the whole sporting world seems a little afraid of the Chinese at the moment.

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Wiggles love football

The FFA have produced a list of people who love the game below. Any famous, rich Canberrans in that list?

Does anyone know of any rich Canberrans, or famous Canberrans who love the game.

Does Jackie Chan love football, Terry Snow, or even Lachlan Murdoch? Anyone?

Football Federation Australia (FFA) today named the first group of football ambassadors who will form an important part of Australia’s growing family of football supporters.

“Just as football appeals to a wide range of Australians right across the spectrum, our chosen Ambassadors reflect this diversity and are drawn from all walks of life,” said FFA CEO, Ben Buckley.

“Our ambassadors include politicians, journalists, sports people, entrepreneurs, chefs and performers.

“Some of our Ambassadors love the excitement of big international matches; others simply enjoy a kick in the park with their kids; others just get a kick out of supporting the team that unites Australians – the Qantas Socceroos.”

Buckley said that the ambassadors will tell their own story, and promote Australia and Australian football as FFA builds towards its aspirations to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Australia.

“The coming month will be an exciting time for football fans as the Qantas Socceroos embark on five matches in five weeks in ‘Super June’, including two World Cup Qualifiers here in Australia presented by FOXTEL.

“We are also gearing up to host the FIFA Congress in Sydney next week with delegates from the other 207 member nations of FIFA involving around 2,000 visitors from football globally as well a contingent of international media.

“This is a great event for Sydney and it is also an exciting opportunity for us to position Australia as a potential host for significant football tournaments such as the FIFA Club World Cup (2009 and 2010), the Asian Football Confederation's Asian Cup (2015) and the FIFA World Cup (2018),” Buckley said.

The ambassadors named by Buckley today include:

Ahmed Fahour, CEO, National Australia Bank
Alex Perry, fashion designer
Anthony La Paglia, actor
Cameron Williams, television presenter
George Negus, journalist
Geraldine Doogue, journalist
Ian Thorpe, sportsman
Jeff Fenech, sportsman
John Stanley, radio presenter
Karl Stefanovic, television presenter
Kate Ellis, Minister for Sport
Mike Conway, representing The Wiggles
Stephanie Brantz, television presenter
Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

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That pass by Wayne Rooney


Now altogether now, "we hate the long ball game," but sometimes it can be effective, and indeed beautiful.

Did you see the "long pass of the decade" this morning by Wayne Rooney in the Champions League Final. The highest level of football on the planet.

Wayne, from Liverpool, chased down a Chelsea player around his own box. He tackled him using his great physique and paced away with the ball.

Flying, he looked up and hit the ball 70 yards, (is that an exaggeration?), at speed, over the two Chelsea defenders who turned to see the ball land on Ronaldo's left boot just inside the box.
Ronaldo made haste and delivered a great ball for Tevez, who missed a sitter, and the ball broke to Michael Carrick, who missed another sitter. It should have been 2-0 and game over.

But that ball from Rooney. I watched it over and over. Seeing the distance, the defenders and the delivery.

Who said the long ball game isn't beautiful? Sometimes it clearly is, even at the highest level.

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United to win again?

Yes I know Man United won the European Champions League this morning. Don't really know how. And I know John Terry could have won it for the Chelsea fans with the very last penalty, but he didn't did he!

So for all you followers of the two teams with the most money. Well done. Exciting game as well, surprisingly.

Now; Adelaide to win tonight, or a draw will be enough against Chanhgchun. 5.30pm on Fox. Can they become the first Aussie side to make it through to the Quarter Final of the Asian Champions League?

Bruce Djite is back to play his last game for a while in an A-League side. Should be a good game.

And can Scott McDonald pick up his first Scottish Championship medal tomorrow morn our time. If his Celtic side win their last game of the season, barring a freak result elsewhere, Scott will be a champ.

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Wednesday, 21 May 2008

7,000 Juve tickets left.

48,000 tickets have been sold for the Melbourne Victory v Juventus game. For a friendly!
Interestingly only 20,000 had been sold today for a Harry Kewell lead Socceroos v Ghana game on Friday. Making Harry captain should sell a few more. But not as many as Beckham sold! Hmmmmnn!

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Kanga Cup: Adem Poric to Coach.

In Kanga Cup news:
Former Sheffield Wednesday and Olyroo player Adem Poric will bring a side from Queensland to play at this years Kanga Cup.

A record 220 teams will play smashing Capital Football expectations.

An SBS Advertising campaign, and increased promotion has lead to the increase in teams.
Teams from Korea (2), Malaysia, New Zealand and India(2) will come to Canberra for the July tournament.

The new Woden Valley Clubhouse will provide the hub for the competition.

And in a Kanga Cup first the Under 10 category have 25 teams entered in the 9 v 9 small sided games version.

And it's hoped the Central Coast Mariners will play Newcastle Jets in a friendly at Canberra Stadium on Saturday July 12. (TBC)

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Matildas 0 Canada 0

Matildas Coach Tom Sermanni was delighted with the performances of his young players in the 0-0 draw with Canada on Tuesday in a game played behind closed doors.


"We have nine of the eighteen outfield World Cup players not in this team. So Ellyse Perry 17, Kyah Symon 16, Jenna Tristram 21 Ella Mastrantinou 16, all played and did fantastically well.

"Only Lydia Williams, Kate McShea and Di Alagich from the World Cup squad played most of the game.

"These games are a great chance for the young players coming through. We'll have Lisa De Vanna, Heather Garriock and Kate Gill back for the Asia Cup, but for now the youngsters have a great chance to play."

The Matildas got to meet the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Tuesday. The PM spent 45 minutes at the training ground mingling with the Matildas and Socceroos, discussing the World Cup bid.

The PM left before the Matildas Canada game.

Matildas take on Canada on Friday before flying out on Saturday to Vietnam for the Asia Cup.

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Who will be Tuggeranong's next Socceroo?

Carl Valeri may be out, but Canberra born, former Tuggeranong United junior, Nikolai Topor-Stanley is expected to gain his second cap for the Socceroos when he starts against Ghana in Sydney on Friday night.

Great news for Nikolai, great news for Canberra football fans, and Tuggers. Game is live on Fox Friday 8pm.

Then Saturday all you Tuggeranong football player and fans can wander down to your local oval and spot the next Valeri or Topor-Stanley. They both played for the same Tuggers Under 11 side coached by Walter Valeri. Two internationalists from the same Under 11 club team.

Could be a first in Australia. But who will Tuggers produce next?

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World Cup draw tonight

We do not want Uzbekistan.

The draw is on Fox Sports at 7pm.

A shocking draw would be Australia, Iran, Japan, Uzbekistan and North Korea.
A great draw would be Australia, Iran, Bahrain, Qatar and North Korea or UAE.

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Don't suppose Canberra can play!

But what about Queanbeyan? That would test the bureaucrats in NSW...I mean Sydney.
Football NSW Futsal Department are seeking Expressions of Interest from Clubs who wish to participate in the 2008/09 Football NSW Futsal Premier/Super Leagues.

The Competition will be held on Saturday afternoon and nights commencing September 08 until completion in February 09. Clubs will be required to field teams in the following age categories:

12 Yr Boys
14 Yr Boys
16 Yr Boys
Youth (19 Years) Men
Open Men
13 Yr Girls
16 Yr Girls
Open Women
For further information please contact Football NSW Futsal Department on

(02) 814 4464 or Email futsal@soccernsw.com.au

Applications close Monday June 16th 2008

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Grassroots football. How to stop girl power.

How do you defend against raw speed?

Apologies to SBS Craig Foster and other believers in the beautiful game, but you just hack em! Don't you?

Pah to the beautiful game, when speedy Young Matilda wannabee Dubbo 16 year old Ashleigh Sykes is honing in on goal in Bathurst on the weekend. Here she is taken down inside the box at full speed.

Have speed will fly!


Great photo from the Western Advocate.


For the record: No penalty was given!

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Tuesday, 20 May 2008

India in the new Asian Champions League.

AFC are reporting:

Japan, Korea Republic, Australia, China, Indonesia, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Iran and India have been confirmed as participants, after a thorough assessment of their eligibility, in the 2009 AFC Champions League to be relaunched on completely professional lines.

Great to see India in there. Looking forward to the relaunch already. How many Aussie teams?

Oh and will Canberra get in...ha ha ha!

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Nearpost Radio: Lyall Gorman talks A-League Franchise

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This week first half:
Socceroos, Central Coast Mariners CEO Lyall Gorman, Matildas, Jenna Tristram, Asian Champions League.

Second half:
Capital Football news
Womens League with Andrew Fitzpatrick,
Woden Valley celebrations we hear from Capital Football CEO Heather Reid, and Woden Valley'sRachel Harrigan, and a review of the Men's Premier League

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FFA: Can Canberra kids have their money back?

From the FFA

To sustain the growth of the game and to allow FFA to provide national leadership in the development
and implementation of the programs listed above, the national registration fees have been set as
follows:
- Junior Player $10.00 including GST
- Amateur Player $20.00 including GST
- Contracted Player $55.00 including GST



That's right, that's what we pay the FFA, every little tacker in Canberra. All 17,000 registered players.

And in return. No A-League team, No National Youth Team, No Women's National Team, and No State League teams, no FFA Leadership.



We're doing our bit in Canberra. We've got 17,000 signed up, (how many more do you want?)and paid up, and football volunteers running and building clubs and football communities.We're spreading the word, the game. So you, the FFA, can do what exactly for this town, this football community.

Where is the FFA assistance to the Capital of Australia. Not even a Women's National Team allowed in! Wait until I tell Kevin07 that of the $32 mill you got in the budget, none, I mean NONE is going to a women's team in the Capital.

We've got more female participants than Victoria but we can't have a national team. Why? Because the FFA say so!

We've got more females in National Women's teams combined than the whole of Victoria!

You've not heard the last from me on this:)



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Canberra A-League Franchise

With expansion talk being fuelled by the FFA. Wollongong and Canberra and others have been invited to bid. Tim Cahill is supporting, but not financing, the Wollongong bid. Carl Valeri, Joe Simunic, Caitlin Munoz will support a Canberra bid.

But the Central Coast Mariners are already in. CEO Lyall Gorman is on Nearpost Radio tonight talking about the Mariners experience, the initial investors and indeed what the other new franchises need.

A great insight into the organisation of a new football club.

And who was the first ever investor in the Mariners? Answer below

First investor:
Lyall Gorman's wife. (Apologies he didn't give me her name.)

Second investor:
Futureschool. A Central Coast education company run by Dennis King. His company operates across 17 countries. He put in 500,000.




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It's a ball-buster!

The Aussie World Cup schedule is a "ball-buster," according to Socceroo Jason Culina interviewed by SBS this week.

If Australia get through the next four June World Cup Qualifiers we have six games against the likes of Japan, Iran and Uzbekistan all before December.

Six! That is a ball-buster, Culina is right.

Take a moment

Take a moment to think about Carl Valeri, a player on the rise, hoping I'm sure for a move to a higher league, higher pay, in the next year or so.


He plays his football in Serie B, he's represented Australia at every level, and he's 24 and on the rise.

Captain of his Italian Club that says a lot about the guy.

Last (northern)summer he went to the Asia Cup didn't play, then straight back to Grosseto for pre-season. No break.

This year he's hardly missed a game for his club, then it's more football in June and then back to pre-season. Minimal break, if any.

And then a full season waits plus SIX flights to Australia and Japan etc all before Christmas.

Now I hear people say they must come, it's for Australia. But if Valeri and his mates suffer an injury in that period his whole football career could be put on hold.

If he moves to another club he needs to be fresh to establish himself in a higher league. The chances are minimal given the pressures of the modern Aussie International footballer.

Mark Viduka has had three end of season EPL breaks full of football. And he's struggled like Brett Emerton this year to complete his normal number of games.

These guys have big big contracts. But the guys like Brett Holman, Carl Valeri, Jason Culina all perhaps hopeful of that next move will perhaps be the ones to struggle as a result of Australia's punishing schedule.

In a business where careers are short the likes of Holman and Valeri, both 24, need to move on, to a higher club if they are to make really good money from their playing careers. As yet I suspect the wages might be good, but not of the Harry Kewelll and co's proportions.

The schedule is demanding. The prize the World Cup is worth it. But those that make the journey next Aussie spring may not get to the World Cup.

Due to injuries or team selections.

Who would care about their plight as Australia march on Jo'burg.

Some players must be doubting our Asia move. Not the fans of course.

June has seen and will see a lot of withdrawals, wait until August, September and November. Qantas profits may go down!

It's a ball-buster, Jason Culina has called it!

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Italians block Canberran

Canberra's Carl Valeri has missed out on an opportunity to stake his place in the Socceroos starting eleven against Ghana on Friday as his Italian club Grosseto, where Valeri is the Captain, has blocked his attendance.

Socceroos Coach Pim Verbeek had reached an agreement with Valeri's Coach on his recent European tour, but noted Italian owners often get involved. He was right!

Friday's game is not an official FIFA date so clubs can refuse to let their players leave.

Valeri will arrive in Brisbane next Tuesday in time for the crucial World Cup Iraq game.

And Valeri may have the last laugh; he may well be on the move this summer from Grosseto. So take that Mr Italian Football Club owner!

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Changchun v Adelaide postponed

Due to the official Chinese Earthquake 3 day's of national mourning. Game will now move to Thursday 22nd same Bat time, same Bat place.

http://www.the-afc.com/eng/articles/viewArticle.jsp_166592690.html

KUALA LUMPUR: AFC has postponed the AFC Champions League Group E match between China’s Changchun Yatai and Australia’s Adelaide United to May 22 due to a three-day period of national mourning in China which started today for victims of last week’s massive Sichuan earthquake.

The venue and kick-off time of the match remain the same.

AFC will also observe a minute’s silence before the kick-off of all the AFC Champions League Match Day six games on May 21 as a mark of respect for the victims of the natural disasters in China and Myanmar.

While Cyclone Nargis left at least 100,000 people dead according to various estimates in the Irrawady delta of Myanmar, an earthquake has killed more than 33,000 people in China’s Sichuan province.

AFC recently announced a relief fund of US$250,000 each for reconstruction of football facilities in these two countries. AFC has also invited its partners to join the cyclone and earthquake relief efforts.

Changchun, who are placed second in the group with 11 points, two less than Adelaide United, need a victory over their Australian rivals to qualify for the knock-out stage.

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Monday, 19 May 2008

Prime Minister to meet Harry and co.

Tomorrow Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Frank Lowy AC will meet with Pim Verbeek, Tom Sermanni, Harry Kewell, Jason Culina, James Holland, Collette McCallum, Jade North, Cheryl Salisbury and James Troisi plus Evan Pellerud (coach of Canadian women's team).

My, my aren't we important now. How football has changed. All aboard!

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Mariners to play in Canberra

Central Coast Mariners will play two pre-season friendly games in Canberra in late June. One against Belconnen United and the ACT Rockets at Deakin Stadium.

Mariners set sail for Canberra in late June

After enjoying the sights and sounds of the nation’s capital for the first time last year, the Central Coast Mariners are set to return to Canberra for a pair of trial matches in late June as part of ongoing preparations for the clubs fourth Hyundai A-League campaign.

The reigning Hyundai A-League Premiers have been invited to the Australian Capital Territory by Capital Football, one of seven grassroots associations served by a partnership with the Mariners.

While in Canberra, the Mariners will playoff against powerhouse local club Belconnen United on Wednesday, 25 June and against the ACT Rockets – a representative squad made up of the best players plying their trade in the local ACT Premier League, on Friday, 27 June.

The Mariners will play the ACT Rockets at the newly refurbished Deakin Football Centre and will take on Belconnen United at the Belconnen Soccer Centre, which first hosted Lawrie McKinna’s charges almost one year prior to the upcoming fixture.

With the Mariners also confirmed for a sojourn to central Queensland some two weeks before the aforementioned matches in the ACT, the yellow and navy’s pre-season campaign is shaping up to be their most thorough yet.

"Since formalising an arrangement with Capital Football in November of last year, we have enjoyed an outstanding relationship with our partners in Canberra and our visit in late June will allow us to further develop our ties with Capital Football, footballers in Canberra and the ACT community at large," said Mariners Executive Chairman Lyall Gorman.

"We are extremely thankful to everyone at Capital Football and Belconnen United for making these fixtures a reality and I am certain that our playing squad will benefit from another trip away together ahead of the Hyundai A-League kick off.

"Furthermore, these matches provide the best players from the ACT Premier League with an ideal chance to test themselves against the Premiers of Australia, an opportunity that I’m sure will be relished by all wearing the shirts of Belconnen United or the ACT Rockets."

Canberra has traditionally been a happy hunting ground for the Mariners, who recorded back-to-back victories while in the nation’s capital prior to the Hyundai A-League 2007/08 season.

Nik Mrdja’s brace in addition to goals from Adam Kwasnik and Damien Brown saw the Mariners home 4-0 against Belconnen United in late June, before the team returned one month later to thrash Sydney FC 3-0 in the final Group B match of the 2007 Pre-Season Cup.

The yellow and navy’s current line up consists of several players with experience in Canberra, with Damien Brown, Andrew Clark and Nik Mrdja each having played for former National Soccer League club the Canberra Cosmos at various stages before linking with the Mariners.

The Mariners kick off their pre-season program against the Central Coast Lightning at Pluim Park tomorrow, Tuesday, 20 May. Kick off is at 7.30pm.

Event Details

Belconnen United vs. Central Coast Mariners
Belconnen Soccer Centre, Hawker
Wednesday, 25 June, Kick off 7pm

ACT Rockets vs. Central Coast Mariners
Deakin Football Centre, Deakin
Friday, 27 June, Kick off 7pm

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Sunday, 18 May 2008

Monday Wrap:

Mark Bosnich commentating, Football this week, Gobby parents, Amy Taylor, Mr Anti-Football Peter Fitzsimons, and my teams for Euro2008

Football this week:

Gobby parents at Kuringai junior club have earned $6,000 for a national charity. They were told to keep quiet on the sidelines, see earlier report on this blog, but they couldn't.

No surprise there.

Amy Taylor Former Canberra football and Matildas star will co-host Fox Sports hunt for a Sydney FC player. Show starts soon.

Mr Anti-Football Peter Fitzsimons writing in the SMH on Saturday highlighted Ellyse Perry the Matilda who plays for the National cricket team.

Ha, he wants her to play cricket! Plonker Peter. I hope she ditches cricket and plays football. So there biased Peter.

My Euro2008 Teams

Well no Australia obviously all though 140 players play football in Europe compared to 80 Rugby League Aussies. And no Ireland. So I'm declaring my full support for two sides.

Sweden, because one of football's great men, great role models, and great strikers, Henrik Larsson is back in the squad. And I'm a big Celtic fan. Have I mentioned that?

And of course big support for Croatia. Canberra's Joe Simunic will be lining up and I'll be cheering Joe, of recent Nearpost radio fame, and his side home.

And of course I hope Joe is the last Aussie of Croatian origin to play for Croatia.

But then again I delighted in Celtic's Scottish wizard Aiden McGeady choosing Ireland, come to think of it add Everton's Kevin Sheedy, Liverpool's Ray Houghton and about 30 other "Irish" stars over the years.

Inter to win in Italy overnight?

And Nearpost Man United fan Russ Gibbs reckons it's United to win the Champions League..by a goal, then again it could be Chelsea he thinks. Nice one Russ.

Me? The big game of the week apart from Adelaide United, Matildas and Socceroos is on Friday morning Australia time.

With Rangers drawing overnight, Celtic just need to win, just a win imagine, to grab the Scottish title. Aussie Scott McDonald, go on my son you can do it!

Mark Bosnich commentating:
Bozza is back, as a commentator. If you watched the FA Cup Final on SBS Bozza told it like it was. Too much chat Bozza but great to have you back in football.

And he's training on his own, so I guess rumours of his comeback are just that. If he hasn't got a club by now, he probably won't will he!

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James Ward stuns O'Connor Knights

A new ball, more goals, and team of the round Canberra City grab a point. All the ACT Men's Premier League below.

It might be Woden Valley's 20th birthday but Belconnen United celebrated by downing Woden Valley 3-1 on Saturday. No surprise there. David Leet, David Kemp and a Danny Macor last minute penalty secured the points. Tim Womack scored for Woden Valley. Happy birthday Woden!

Canberra FC pumped Queanbeyan City 7-0. A one-sided affair by all accounts.

Tuggeranong United and ANUFC, like all clubs, used the new Euro2008 ball and if the Euro's follow this 3-3 result Canberra's Joe Simunic (Croatia) and Woden Valley friend Henrik Larsson (Sweden, yes he's back) will be counting goals on both hands.

Tim Cole, Tuggers 17 year old opened the scoring, James Rendinia equalised in the last minute before half-time for ANU. Alex Tileman and Yosef Zamora made it 3-1, Tim Mathas, former ANU player pulled one back, and with 2 minutes to go Mark Shields levelled it. A cracker?

Not according to Nearpost Expert Russ Gibbs. "It was dire football, diabolical. The common consent from the players is that the new ball is all about goals. But it didn't make for a great game."

And in the surprise of the round Canberra City drew 1-1 away to O'Connor Knights. Ben Barac scored after 14 minutes for O'Connor before Leon Tarbotten equalised. James Ward in the City goal was outstanding. Canberra City will be really pleased with the point. Not so O'Connor Knights.

So a disappointing defeat, or the size of it,for Queanbeyan City, Belco,Canberra FC plough on but Canberra City grab a vital and impressive point.

Next week Canberra City have Tuggers, so is a City resurgence in the wind!

Football this week:
Inter to win in Italy.
And Nearpost Man United fan Russ Gibbs reckons it's United to win the Champions League..by a goal, then again it could be Chelsea he thinks. Nice one Russ.

Me? The big game of the week apart from Adelaide United, Matildas and Socceroos is on Friday morning Australia time.

With Rangers drawing overnight, Celtic just need to win, just a win imagine, to grab the Scottish title. Aussie Scott McDonald, go on my son you can do it!


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