Friday, 24 April 2009

Canberrans in Anzac Day Tribute

Christophe Bush (ACT/AIS), Stephen Domenici (ACT/AIS), Jason Geria (ACT/AIS), Alexander Meibusch (ACT/AIS), are all in Turkey for the Australia/Turkey inaugural Anzac Day football match. This year it's the Under 17's taking part.

23 April 2009

The Australia U17 men's football team, the Qantas Joeys, are preparing for the inaugural Australia-Turkey Friendly Football matches to coincide with Anzac Day with two of Australia’s brightest young stars are preparing for the biggest games of their careers.

The game, to be played in Canakkale – near Gallipoli – takes on special significance for Australian strikers Kerem Bulut and Ersin Kaya, both of whom are of Turkish descent.

Both sets of parents were born in Turkey, before emigrating to Australia, where Bulut and Kaya were born and learned to play football.

“It’s the biggest game of my career and it’s pretty emotional,’’ said Melbourne-born Mustafa Animi.

“It’s special, playing the country of my background and it’s exciting for me and my family.’’

With the Qantas Joeys games either side of Anzac Day, the players will attend the Lone Pine commemorative service in Gallipoli on Saturday, while Football Federation Australia CEO, Ben Buckley, and most of the team officials will attend the Dawn Service.

Before departing for Europe, the Joeys visited the Australian War Memorial in Canberra where they were given further education about the events which led to the landing on Gallipoli in 1915.

Bulut, who is set to play in attack with Kaya, said it helped the team gain a greater appreciation for Anzac Day.

“We learnt more about the history and what went on between both countries and that’s why this game is so sentimental for us,’’ Sydney-born Bulut said.

“With all the events surrounding the match, it’s exciting for us and it should be a good game and hopefully a lot of the Australians who are coming here for Anzac Day can turn up and support us.

“It’s a good hit out for both teams, because they’re still involved in the European qualifiers so they will be taking the game very seriously.’’

Buckley said that the annual event is important in helping build long term relationships with Turkey.

“But it is also important for us as individuals, whether Australian or Turkish."

Qantas Joeys coach, Jan Versleijen, has told the teams they have a responsibility not only to perform well, but to be the face of Australian football.

“They are representing the country so it’s a good experience for them for when they start playing at a higher level.’’

Almost 10,000 Australians are expected to visit Gallipoli this year.

These historic matches are the first of what will be an annual event, which will see friendly football matches played in either Turkey or Australia in alternating years between designated men's and women's national teams. Australia will host the event in 2010.

The dates for this new annual football event were specifically selected to coincide with Anzac Day (25 April) for Australia and National Sovereignty and Children’s Day (23 April) for Turkey.

The annual football event has the strong support of both the Australian and Turkish governments with Australia 's Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith and NSW Premier, Nathan Rees, attending one of the matches.


Match Details – Turkey U16 v Qantas Joeys
* Game 1: Friday 24 April 2009
Canakkale Stadium, Canakkale
2.00pm local (9.00pm AEST)

* Game 2: Sunday 26 April 2009
Canakkale Stadium, Canakkale
2.00pm local (9.00pm AEST)

Marc Warren and Brendan Hamill have been withdrawn from the original 25-man squad. The squad comprises:

Christophe Bush (ACT/AIS), Stephen Domenici (ACT/AIS), Jason Geria (ACT/AIS), Alexander Meibusch (ACT/AIS), Mustafa Amini (NSW/AIS), Kerem Bulut (NSW/AIS), Kevin Davison (NSW/AIS), Patrick Dixon (NSW/AIS), Samuel Gallaway (NSW/AIS), Robert Kolak (NSW/AIS), Aaron Lennox (NSW/AIS), Jared Lum (NSW/AIS), John Martinoski (NSW/AIS), Aaron Peterson (NSW/AIS), Daniel Petkovski (NSW/AIS), Nikola Stanojevic (NSW/AIS), Lawrence Thomas (NSW/AIS), Curtis Good (VIC/AIS), Ersin Kaya (VIC/AIS), Damir Lokvancic (VIC/AIS), Eli Babalj (WA/AIS), Scott Mellish (WA/AIS), Trent Sainsbury (WA/AIS)
Bonita Mersiades

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