Four-day camp for Qantas Under 23's

Some of Australia’s finest young footballing talent will gather in Canberra next week when the Qantas Under 23 squad will again hold a four-day camp as preparations continues towards the commencement of the 2008 Olympic Games qualifying tournament in February.

Some of Australia-s finest young footballing talent will gather in Canberra next week when the Qantas Under 23 squad will again hold a four-day camp as preparations continues towards the commencement of the 2008 Olympic Games qualifying tournament in February.

The 22-strong squad of Olympic hopefuls, which will consist of domestic-based players only, commences on Monday at the Australian Institute of Sport and concludes on Thursday.

“With only fairly limited time to work with the respective players this camp will form an important part of our preparation ahead of the commencement of the qualifying campaign in February,” said Qantas Under 23s coach Graham Arnold.

“We have been able to look at players last month when we held a similar camp, and also earlier this year when we participated in a four-nation tournament. In addition I was able to bring in five European-based players recently as an extension of the Qantas Socceroo squad in London.

“I expect that competition for a place in the each squad will be fairly intense with only 18 positions available for each match.

“The camp will also be another good opportunity to not only have the players become accustomed to the style of football that we will be playing, but also to build some teamwork within the group.”

The squad consists primarily of Hyundai A-League players with all Australian clubs represented. Also included are five players who represented the Qantas Young Socceroos the AFC Youth Championship earlier this month in goalkeeper Tando Velaphi, defender Sebastian Ryall, midfielder Oliver Bozanic and attacking duo Nathan Burns and Dario Vidosic.

The Qantas Under 23s squad for the AIS camp, November 27-30, is:

Oliver Bozanic (uncontracted), Mark Bridge (Newcastle United Jets), Nathan Burns (Adelaide United), Robert Cornthwaite (Adelaide United), Adam D'Apuzzo (Newcastle United Jets), Spase Dilevski (Queensland Roar), Luka Glavas (Perth Glory), Labinot Haliti (Newcastle United Jets), Vince Lia (Melbourne Victory), Adrian Leijer (Melbourne Victory), David Micevski (Perth Glory), Mark Milligan (Sydney FC), Stuart Musialik (Newcastle United Jets), Sebastian Ryall (AIS), Kristian Sarkies (Melbourne Victory), Joel Theissen (uncontracted), Jacob Timpano (Sydney FC), Nikolai Topor-Stanley (Sydney FC), Tando Velaphi (AIS), Dario Vidosic (Queensland Roar), Danny Vukovic (Central Coast Mariners), Ruben Zadkovich (Sydney FC)

Australia-s Olympic qualifying campaign will commence with a home and away preliminary qualifying play-off against Chinese Taipei on February 7 and 14.

The winner will progress to Group D of Round 2 qualification alongside Iran, Saudi Arabia, and either Jordan or Kyrgyzstan, with the first match against Iran scheduled to be played away on February 28.

The 24-team second round qualifying, which has been split into six groups of four, runs through February 28 to June 6, with the top two teams in each group advancing to the final round to be played in three groups of four teams each.

The final home and away round will be held from August 22 - November 21, with the three group winners representing Asia at the Beijing Olympic Games.

The only international matches of the current campaign to date for the Qantas Under 23s was a four-nation tournament in April. The Qantas Under 23s finishing second on goal difference behind Iran, and ahead of Uzbekistan and host nation Vietnam.

Meanwhile, the Qantas Matildas will also commence their Olympic qualification campaign in February (17-25) with Australia drawn alongside Chinese Taipei, Myanmar and Uzbekistan in the first stage of qualifying. Should they finish top two in the group the team will then progress to the final stage of qualifying and another four team group where DPR Korea await as the seeded team. The final stage of qualifying will be held between April and August with only the top team to progress to the 2008 Olympic Games.

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