Football Australia today announced that Barcelona 1992 Olympian, Tony Vidmar, will lead Australia’s U23 men’s national football team, the Olyroos, in its bid to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Vidmar, who is a current member of Graham Arnold’s coaching staff with the Socceroos, will take charge of the Australia U23 program following the conclusion of Australia’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ campaign this year, with Trevor Morgan – who has been extensively involved with the group over the past 12 months – set to guide the side at the upcoming AFC U23 Asian Cup in Uzbekistan.
Vidmar, who played 76 ‘A’ internationals for Australia between 1991 and 2006 and served as an Assistant Coach for the Olyroos at last year’s delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan, said he’s thrilled to have been appointed to the post – one which will see him play a pivotal role in developing the next generation of Australian talent and enhance the pathway between Australia’s youth and senior men’s national teams.
“I have been privileged in my life to have had a long association with the Olyroos, so it is a real honour to know that over the next two years I will continue to be involved with a program that is so crucial for Australian football,” Vidmar said.
“The Olyroos program provides a vital link between our youth national teams and the Socceroos, and the last cycle provided a great illustration of how players can progress to the senior national team, and even secure moves to top leagues abroad, by gaining international experience and exposure via the Olyroos.
“While I won’t formally commence as Olyroos Head Coach until after the Socceroos’ World Cup campaign concludes, Trevor (Morgan) and I are already in regular contact about the program, players coming through the pathway, and the preparation not only for Paris 2024 but also the upcoming AFC U23 Asian Cup in Uzbekistan,” he said.
Football Australia Chief Executive Officer, James Johnson, said he believes that the Olyroos will be in good hands under the guidance of a Vidmar – a coach with the best interests of Australian players at the centre of his ethos.
“We’re delighted that Tony (Vidmar) has accepted the opportunity to lead the Olyroos through to Paris 2024,” Johnson said. “Tony has been involved with the Olyroos in a coaching capacity since 2019 and, combined with his own experience as an Olympian, we believe he has a great understanding of what it will take not only to guide the side to the tournament but help to develop players along the way.”
“As a key member of the current Socceroos coaching staff it is important that Tony finishes the job with the Socceroos this year, however we look forward to him taking the reins of the Olyroos later in 2022 as we put in place a program of activity to help the Olyroos qualify for back-to-back Olympic Games.
“We also acknowledge Trevor Morgan who will lead our 23s at next month’s U23 Asian Cup in Uzbekistan. Trevor successfully led the squad through qualifying for this year’s AFC U23 Asian Cup in Tajikistan last year and has a strong knowledge of players in this age group, so he is best placed to take charge of the team next month when both the Socceroos and Olyroos are in action at the same time.”
Australia’s squad for the forthcoming AFC U23 Asian Cup – which does not serve as part of the qualification process for Paris 2024 – will be announced next week.
Australia has been drawn in Group B of the tournament alongside Kuwait, Iraq, and Jordan, and will play its group matches in the cities of Qarshi (two matches) and Tashkent (one match) between June 1 and 7.
Players and staff will assemble in Uzbekistan for a pre-tournament training camp from May 23.
Australia finished third at the last AFC U23 Asian Cup, then known as the AFC U23 Championship, in Bangkok, Thailand in January 2020 to secure qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Men’s Football Tournament.
Men’s football qualifying for Paris 2024 is set to commence in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) next year.