Tim Cahill hopes Australia's national football team can play a part in rehabilitating the country's sporting reputation in the wake of the weekend's cricket ball-tampering scandal.
Cameron Bancroft admitted using tape to try and artificially alter the condition of the ball during Australia's third Test against South Africa in Cape Town on Saturday, with captain Steve Smith stating the opening batsman was acting under instructions from himself and the team's "leadership group" of senior players.
Cricket Australia removed Smith and vice-captain David Warner from their positions for day four of the match, with wicketkeeper Tim Paine taking on the captaincy as the beleaguered tourists subsided to a crushing 322-run defeat.
The International Cricket Council have banned Smith for this week's fourth Test in Johannesburg and fined him 100 per cent of his match fee, while Bancroft has been given three demerit points and a 75 per cent fine.
Reaction in Australia has come in the form of a vitriolic backlash against the side and Cahill acknowledged the footballers will be playing their part in attempting to rehabilitate sport in the public consciousness when they take on Colombia at Craven Cottage on Tuesday.
"A lot of people can understand that it's a sad moment for Australian sport," he told a pre-match news conference.
"We're very proud of where we come from and it's time now to try and make right for sport in Australia as a whole.
"We can play our part in that as a team and as a squad by leading on and off the park tomorrow night, setting examples and representing our country with pride.
"I feel, as a staff and group of players, that we have to keep doing what we've been doing – being professional, staying in camp, training hard and fulfilling our expectations from the Australian public of growing our sport, creating more followers within football and being prepared for one of the biggest stages on earth, which is the World Cup in Russia."
Cahill is set to take part in the fourth World Cup of an enduring career for the Socceroos and events in Cape Town have impacted upon his role as the senior man in Bert van Marwijk's squad.
"My response is we want to be respectful of the situation and protect our playing group from what's happening outside," Australia's all-time record goalscorer explained.
"We're in a professional environment inside our camp and our focus has to be on preparing for this game and the bigger picture of Russia.
"It's important, being the older player, that you try to move the papers out of the rooms where the guys are and make them just focus on why they're here."
Cahill added: "As professionals it's our job to make sure our mindset is on the game. It's hard in a way but that's what I've done for the last 20 years of my career."
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