Bozanic set to lead Qantas Olyroos

Central Coast Mariners midfield maestros Oliver Bozanic and Mustafa Amini have today been selected for the Qantas Olyroos two Olympic qualification matches against Yemen later this month.

Central Coast Mariners midfield maestros Oliver Bozanic and Mustafa Amini have today been selected for the Qantas Olyroos two Olympic qualification matches against Yemen later this month.

The first match of the must win two-legged tie will take place at Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford on Sunday 19 June, while Football Federation Australia has reached an agreement with Yemen-s FA to play the second match at Ausgrid Stadium, Newcastle on Thursday 23 June.

Bozanic skippered the aspiring Olympians in an international friendly in Japan last week, anchoring the midfield as the team went down 3-1 to their hosts at the Tohoku Denryoku Bigswan Stadium in Niigata.

Having been handed the captains armband by Qantas Olyroos coach Aurelio Vidmar for the first time, Bozanic said skippering the side was a proud moment in his career.

“It was good to get the captains armband and good to get the opportunity to lead the team,” he said.

“One of the best things you can do is play for your country, and to captain it is the next level, so it was great for me.”

The Olyroos took an early one goal advantage via a Mitch Nichols strike before Japan fought back to win the game 3-1. Despite the loss, Bozanic believes his team could take a lot away from the performance.

“We-re in our off season and they-re in their full season, so they-re going to be fitter than us,” he said.

“But we played good football in the first half and I think when we are at full fitness it will be a different story the next time we meet them.”

Amini returns to Australia today following a two-week European tour with the Qantas Young Socceroos.

During that tour the young attacker played a crucial role in Australia-s 1-0 friendly win over Germany in Kamen-Kaiserau, and also featured in the Terborg Tournament in the Netherlands where Australia finished seventh.

In the 21 players he has selected for the Yemen tie, coach Vidmar believes he has selected a squad capable of getting the result required to progress the side to the next stage of the competition.

“I was really pleased with elements of our recent trip to Japan, but there are still parts to work on,” Vidmar said.

“Musti (Mustafa Amini) and Kofi (Danning) were added to give us a couple of extra creative and attacking options,” he concluded.

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