Verbeek seeks Asian Cup schedule switch

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SYDNEY - Australia coach Pim Verbeek has urged the region's football body to stage Asian Cup qualifiers only on days set aside for international breaks to allow countries to field their strongest team, local media reported on Friday.

The Dutchman backed Oman coach Claude de Roy, whose team lost 1-0 to a full strength Australia on Wednesday, after saying only two of his team's qualifiers were on FIFA-designated days, both against the Socceroos.

"I think it's ridiculous of course, if you play Asian Cup qualification you want the best teams in Asia in the Asian Cup," The Age quoted Verbeek as saying.

"Oman is a little bit unlucky that we play them twice with our best possible selection. I think it's not good and Asian Cup (qualifiers) should be played on FIFA dates so you can bring in the best players available."

Clubs have to release players well ahead for internationals on dates fixed by the governing body but can hold them back until 48 hours before the game.

Qatar will stage the 2011 Asian Cup finals.