Mariners Contribute Strongly To Qantas Australian U23s

Central Coast Mariners duo Oliver Bozanic and Mathew Ryan have been selected in Aurelio Vidmar’s Qantas Australian U23s squad for the upcoming AFC Asian Qualifiers for the 2012 London Games.

Central Coast Mariners duo Oliver Bozanic and Mathew Ryan have been selected in Aurelio Vidmar-s Qantas Australian U23s squad for the upcoming AFC Asian Qualifiers for the 2012 London Games - Third Round matches against Uzbekistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Additionally, attackers Mustafa Amini and Bernie Ibini have been placed on stand-by for the squad, with one of the two players all but assured of venturing overseas with the team depending on the fitness of Sydney FC midfielder Terry Antonis.

The majority of the Qantas Australian Under 23s will depart Australia on 29 January for a pre-match camp in the UAE before heading to Tashkent to face Uzbekistan at the JAR Stadium on Sunday 5 February (Kick-off 8:00pm local; 2:00am AEDT).

The Qantas Australian U23s will then return to the UAE for a training camp to prepare for their next qualification match against the UAE at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday 22 February (Kick-Off 5:30pm local; 00:30am AEDT). The training camp will also include a friendly match against the Philippines senior national team at the Zabeel Stadium, Dubai on Thursday 16 February (Kick-off 7:30pm local (02:30am AEDT).

The teams in each group of the third round of qualifying play in a home-and-away format from 21 September 2011, to 14 March 2012, with the winner of each group directly qualifying for the London 2012 Olympic Games Football competition. The three second-placed teams from the third round will clash in a playoff at a centralised venue from March 25 to 29, 2012, and the winners of this group will meet the representatives of CAF (Africa) for a berth in the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Meanwhile, Bozanic, who skippers the Qantas Australian U23 team, today helped announce that Central Coast Stadium will be the location for the Qantas Australian U23s final pool match on the road to the 2012 London Games.

The match is part of the international football package announced by the NSW Government through Destination NSW and Football Federation Australia in August 2011.

The international football package includes two Qantas Australian U23s qualifiers for the London 2012 Olympic Games, one of which is to be played in regional NSW. The first of which was played last November at Parramatta Stadium and the second is to be played at the Central Coast Stadium in Gosford.

Minister for the Central Coast, Chris Hartcher said the announcement that Gosford would host the Qantas Australian U23s v Iraq U23s was a fantastic achievement for the region and an exciting addition to the 2012 NSW Events Calendar.

“This is great news for the Central Coast and reflects the NSW Government-s desire to take international football to as many parts of the State as possible.

“Pending the outcome of other London 2012 qualifiers during February in Australia-s group, the match against Iraq could be crucial to our hopes of London 2012 qualification.

“The NSW Government is committed to supporting events in regional NSW as they play an important role in driving tourism and generating economic benefit for the State and local community,” he said.

Member for Gosford Chris Holstein said Central Coast Stadium is a fitting venue for the qualifier.

“The stadium can hold up to 20,000 spectators and has played host to international rugby union, National Rugby League and Hyundai A-League matches, boxing, motor cross and open-air rock concerts as well as a multitude of local sporting and community events,” he said.

Football Federation Australia Chief Executive Officer Ben Buckley was greatly appreciative of the support from the NSW Government for this match and other football events within the state.

“The support from the NSW Government for these Olympic Games qualification matches and the Qantas Socceroos 2014 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers provides fans with fantastic opportunities for them to support our national teams at top quality stadiums.

“The Central Coast area in particular has a great tradition of supporting our national teams when they have played at Central Coast Stadium, and I-m sure that our upcoming match against Iraq will be no different,” concluded Buckley.

Tickets for the match will go on sale from 9am on Friday 3 February from Ticketek with members of the Football Family and registered players receiving a 50% discount when pre-purchasing.

AFC Asian Qualifiers for the 2012 London Games - Third Round Qantas Australian U23s v Iraq Central Coast Stadium, Gosford Wednesday, 14 March 2012 Kick-off: 7:30pm Gates Open 6.30pm

Ticket Prices General Public Adult $20.00 Concession/Child $10.00 Family $40.00

Football Family and registered players database pre-purchase price Adult $10.00 Concession/Child $5.00 Family $20.00

On Sale Dates 9am - Friday 3 February 2012