Ante Milicic to lead Australia U23 in China
Football Federation Australia (FFA) is pleased to announce that Caltex Socceroos Assistant Coach Ante Milicic will take charge of Australia’s U23 squad at next year’s AFC U23 Championships in China.
Recently former Caltex Socceroos Assistant Coach Josep Gombau received FFA’s blessing to stand down from the position of Australia U23 Head Coach to take on the role of Head Coach at Western Sydney Wanderers FC in the Hyundai A-League.
With the Caltex Socceroos’ place at next year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia now sealed, FFA can confirm that Milicic, himself a former Caltex Socceroo, will oversee Australia’s campaign at U23 level in China in January 2018.
"It is an honour and a privilege to be part of a national team at any level," said Milicic.
"This is the age group directly underneath the Caltex Socceroos, the next layer of players, and I think on the back of FIFA World Cup qualification January’s tournament in China will be a very good opportunity for the players selected to showcase themselves not only as individuals but as a team.
"Having worked closely with Ange (Postecoglou) over the past four years I will be looking to bring a lot of the traits from Australia’s senior national team to the 23s.
"We will be looking to play a very aggressive style of football in China, and aim to take the game to our opponents.
"While the AFC U23 Championship in China is not contested in an official FIFA window it is a very important tournament that we will be taking seriously. We will be monitoring Hyundai A-League based players and age-eligible players abroad over the next six weeks and will look to take the strongest possible squad to the competition," concluded Milicic.
FFA’s Head of National Performance, Luke Casserly, said Milicic is the ideal candidate for the role.
"Ante Milicic has played an integral role in our national team set-up over the past four years," said Casserly.
"Ante holds a current AFC Pro-Diploma, and is very well respected in the football community. We are fortunate to have one of Australia’s brightest and most talented young coaches working with this group," he said.
Australia has been placed in Group D at next year’s AFC U23 Championship alongside Korea Republic, Syria, and Vietnam.
The team will play its three pool matches at the Kunshan Stadium, which is located in Jiangsu Province.
A top two finish in Group D will be required to propel Australia U23 to the Quarter Finals.
2018 AFC U23 Championships (China) – Group D
Match 1 – Australia v Syria
Thursday 11 January 2018
Kunshan Stadium, Kunshan
Match 2 – Vietnam v Australia
Sunday 14 January 2017
Kunshan Stadium, Kunshan
Match 3 – Korea Republic v Australia
Wednesday 14 January 2018
Kunshan Stadium, Kunshanth