Olyroos head coach Aurelio Vidmar is planning games for his team in Europe and the Middle East from September to October in preparation for next year’s AFC Under-23 Championships.
The Olyroos are leaving no stone unturned in the bid to reach next year’s Olympic Games, with the AFC Championships serving as the final qualification tournament.
The Australians must finish in the top three of the 16-team tournament in Qatar in January to qualify for the Rio Games.
Vidmar said there is still time for injured young guns such as Corey Gameiro, Awer Mabil and Curtis Good, to force their way into contention.
“I’m trying to secure games in Europe in September then in the Middle East in October, November so players experience the environment of the area where in the finals will be played in January 2016,” he told FourFourTwo.
“The opportunity for new players to be introduced into squad will happen in September, October and November.
“Players like Gameiro, Good and Yeboah will be back from injury and there are a few others I want to watch closely. So we will see how they are developing and whether they will add strength and a point of difference to the team.”
The Olyroos finished top of their group in a tournament in Taiwan last month top to book a spot in Qatar. They impressed with a 5-0 win over Myanmar, 6-0 against Hong Kong and a 4-0 defeat of Chinese Taipei.
“I was very pleased in the way the players performed under difficult circumstances,” Vidmar said.
“The training and playing pitches were way below standard and all the players just got on with their roles within the team and didn't let any of those influences affect their performances.
“They are trying very hard to implement the playing style and are enjoying playing the game in that way.”
Despite scoring 15 goals and conceding just one, Vidmar said the Olyroos need to work on their fitness.
“If there is one area that we need to improve in it is fitness levels,” he said.
“We have discussed this as a group and we are all aware that to be successful next January we have to fit to play international football.
“We must be in a position that all players will be able to play a minimum of three to five games in succession over 11 days.”
Vidmar’s Olyroos team has featured a number of players with Socceroo experience including Adam Taggart, Brad Smith and Jackson Irvine.
“Some of them have been in the Socceroo environment and I guess they are eager to get back into that setup,” he said.
“Their performances over a consistent period will give them every opportunity to get there.”
Vidmar believes his Under-23 side can benefit from the Socceroos’ success at the Asian Cup in January.
“They are only one step away from playing at senior international level, and they have seen when everyone is committed and pulling in the same direction that they can have success,” he said.
“They absolutely love being together and want to achieve something special for themselves in this setup.”1 comment