Young Roos handed tough U-19 draw

The Young Socceroos' qualification road to the World Cup has become clearer with the Aussies drawn alongside Uzbekistan, United Arab Emirates and Indonesia in Group B of the AFC U-19 Championship.

The tournament, held in Myanmar in October, doubles as qualifiers for the World Cup. Head Coach Paul Okon didn’t sugar coat the draw but said the Young Socceroos were up for the challenge.

“It is by no means any easy draw,” Okon said. 

“Uzbekistan qualified for the last FIFA U-20 World Cup and will be a difficult opponent.

“UAE did well as the hosts of the last AFC U-19 Championship and Indonesia won the ASEAN Football Federation tournament last year.

“Now that we have the draw we have a local training camp next week and an overseas camp soon after to specifically prepare for our opposition.

“I am confident that when the tournament comes around in October we will be ready to perform.”

In 2011, Uzbekistan handed the Joeys a 4-0 drubbing to send them crashing out of the U-17 World Cup in the round of 16.

The Young Socceroos will play their first match of the tournament against the UAE on October 10, then Indonesia on October 12 before their final group match against Uzbekistan on October 14.

The winner and runner-up of Group B will face the runner-up and winner of Group A - Myanmar, IR Iran, Thailand and Yemen – in the quarter-finals.

The top four teams from the tournament will qualify for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup which will be held in New Zealand from May 30 to June 20.

Okon named a 22-player squad to head into a training camp on the Central Coast on Saturday until Wednesday.

The Young Socceroos will play a training match against the Manly NPL team from 7pm on Wednesday at Cromer Park which will be open to the public.

Following this camp, Okon will be select a squad that will travel to the United Arab Emirates in May to play two international friendly matches against the Oman U-20 team (May 9 and 11) and another two international friendly matches against the UAE U-20 team (May 14 and 16).

The U-19 Championship runs from 9-13 October.

Group A: Myanmar (host), IR Iran, Thailand, Yemen
Group B: Uzbekistan, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia
Group C: Korea Republic, Japan, China PR, Vietnam
Group D: Iraq, DPR Korea, Qatar, Oman

Young Socceroos Squad for Central Coast training camp:

Daniel ALESSI (Western Sydney Wanderers), Shannon BRADY    (Brisbane Roar), Brandon BORELLO (Brisbane Roar), Jordan BROWN (Melbourne Victory), Devante CLUT (Brisbane Roar), Daniel De SILVA (Perth Glory), Shayne D’CUNHA (Western Sydney Wanderers), Jacob ESPOSITO (Sydney United), Alusine FOFANAH (Western Sydney Wanderers), Ben GARUCCIO (Melbourne Heart), Hagi GLIGOR (Sydney FC), Paul IZZO (GK, Adelaide United), Awer MABIL (Adelaide United), Marc MARINO (uncontracted), Stefan MAUK (Melbourne Heart), Liam ROSE (Central Coast Mariners), Jaushua SOTORIO (Western Sydney Wanderers), Jordan THURTELL (GK, uncontracted), George TIMETHIOU (Belconnen Blue Devils), Jaiden WALKER (Brisbane Roar), Ben WARLAND (Uncontracted), Riley WOODCOCK (Perth Glory).