Central Coast Mariners young gun Liam Rose has today been named in Paul Okon’s 23-player Young Socceroos squad for the AFC U-19 Championship 2014 which will be held in Myanmar from 9-23 October.
The AFC U-19 Championship 2014 will double as the qualification tournament for the FIFA U-20 World Cup to be held in New Zealand next year.
Rose has been a mainstay in Okon’s Young Socceroos squads this year, and has travelled to the United States and Vietnam, and participated in various camps - including the squads’ most recent training stint on the Central Coast last week - with the team.
The bulk of Okon’s squad has been drawn from the ranks of Hyundai A-League clubs with Shayne D’Cunha from the NSW NPL competition and Cameron Burgess (Fulham FC, England), Chris Ikonomidis (SS Lazio, Italy) and Peter Skapetis (Stoke City FC, England) as the three overseas-based players.
Okon is optimistic about his team’s chances heading into the tournament.
“We have had a good preparation leading into the tournament with a number of tours and camps where we have faced quality opposition,” Okon said.
“Unfortunately we have experienced a couple of injuries to the group recently, with Ben Garruccio (ankle) and Jordan Lyden (hamstring) ruled out of selection, but this has given opportunities for other players to step-up.
“We fly out tomorrow for a pre-tournament camp in Thailand where our overseas-based players will join us. This will allow us to acclimatise to similar conditions we will face in Myanmar and put the finishing touches on our game plan.
“Our goal is to qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup and to achieve this goal we will need to string together four quality performances,” he concluded.
The Young Socceroos have been placed in Group B and will face the United Arab Emirates in their first match of the tournament on Friday 10 October, followed by Indonesia on Sunday 12 October and then Uzbekistan in their final group match on Tuesday 14 October.
The top two teams from Group B will then advance to the quarter-finals where they will face the top two teams from Group A (Myanmar, I.R. Iran, Thailand or Yemen) on Friday 17 September. The winner of the Quarter-Finals will not only advance to the Semi-Finals stage of the competition, but will also qualify for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup which will be held in New Zealand from 30 May – 20 June.