FFA has relocated a training camp for the Under 23 Australian men’s squad from Hong Kong to Australia to minimise disruption to the Hyundai A-League.
A-League clubs were informed in early December that a squad of 19 players – 17 currently at Hyundai A-League clubs – would be required for a camp from January 25-31 and this would take place in Hong Kong as part of the traditional Lunar New Year Cup tournament involving club teams FC Seoul (Korea Republic), Muangthong United FC (Thailand) and Kitchee SC (Hong Kong).
The National Teams coaching staff, led by Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou, sees the January camp and another in March for Europe-based Under 23 players as critical preparation for the Asian Cup Under 23 qualifiers in July – and ultimately the development of the next generation of Socceroos.
In the six weeks since the clubs were informed, a combination of injuries, suspensions and the release of the AFC Champions League draw has meant that many clubs are more severely affected by the absence of the Under 23 players than was intended.
“In making plans around this very important development of our Under 23 players, we have worked on two principles: we need to include the best players in the camps, and we need to minimise the disruption to the A-League. By changing the location of the camp, we can maintain those two principles. The coaching staff can get the players they have selected together for a mid-week camp but release them in time to play for their clubs on the weekend,” said FFA chief executive David Gallop.
“Development of national teams, whether at junior or senior level, often necessitates some disruption to club football, including activities outside of international windows. This is unavoidable and is the case around the world. But in exercising our responsibility to create successful national teams we are prepared to be flexible where possible to assist the Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League clubs.”
Details of the Under 23 camp in Australia and the expanded group that will be called up will be announced shortly.