Four-day Camp Sets Team Up For Solomons Clash

Socceroos coach Frank Farina believes the four-day camp in London will set the team up perfectly for the clash with the Solomon Islands next month.

Socceroos coach Frank Farina believes the four-day camp in London will set the team up perfectly for the clash with the Solomon Islands next month.    Farina (pictured right) is using the international weekend to get his players together and go through some important training ahead of the two game series against the Solomons in early October, which will see the winner go through to the lucrative Confederations Cup in 2005.   “It-s very important because it-s setting us up for not only next month,” said Farina, from the player-s base in central London. “This is obviously vitally important for us, as to where we are heading for the qualifiers against the Solomon Islands and a place in next years Confederations Cup.”   Farina will use the four days to educate the players on a new system of play he wants to adopt for the matches against the Solomons and in the future.   “We have done things a little bit differently in terms of how we are playing, like at the Olympics, and a lot of the boys would not be aware of that, so this camp will provide a really good insight for them,” Farina went on.   “Training will not only be on the park, we will have three video sessions in regards to the Solomons Island and obviously looking at the way we want to play. This camp will be valuable in that sense, but also letting them know what is coming up in the next 12-14 months prior to the big qualifiers.   “It-s to give them a heads up, getting them all in together when they have got this time off is great for team morale as well. There is some important areas we want to go through and these four days will give us a chance to do that.”   The majority of the 20-man squad flew in on Wednesday, with only Zeljko Kalac and Max Vieri arriving a day later due to club cup commitments in Italy.   Liverpool star Harry Kewell and Birmingham City-s Stan Lazaridis are the only injury concerns, although Harry had light training around the park with physio Les Gelis, but he got through quite a bit of work, so more than likely he should be alright to train today. Stan had a scan last night on his injured thigh that kept him of Birmingham-s game last weekend, but will report into the camp today (Thursday).   Several players including John Aloisi, Ahmad Elrich, Paul Agostino and David Zdrilic were not considered for the camp due to club commitments.   “For the guys at the Olympics if there was going to be issues with their clubs, they were excused from the camp,” Farina explained.   “John Aloisi for example has issues with his club, as did Ahmad and Luke (Wilkshire). But for the likes of Tim Cahill and Craig Moore, there was no issues with their clubs whatsoever, obviously because there is no games. So both their clubs had no problems so we included them in the squad.”   One of the biggest surprises of the squad named was the omission of former Qantas Socceroo captain Paul Okon, but when asked if his non-selection meant the curtain had closed on his international career, Farina said the 32-year old still has a role to play.   “I have spoken to Paul and the curtain hasn-t been drawn, but with everyone that is coming through it-s making it harder for players like Paul. It-s one of those difficult situations, he has been a good servant of the team, but I will not say the curtain has been drawn.   “The competition coming through at the moment is enormous and there is a lot of good players,” Farina was quick to add.   The other burning issue engulfing the National Team at the moment is the continued speculation from certain sections of the media about Farina-s position as the coach of the team. Having just come off a relatively successful Olympics campaign, which saw them reach the quarter finals for the first time in the last three campaigns, Farina was quick to play down play that he would be replaced.   “I have had regular meetings with John Boultbee and John O-Neill and from my perspective there is no major issues at the moment and we are planning full steam ahead for 2005. All discussions and indications coming through from John O-Neill have always been positive, so I don-t believe that for one minute,” he replied when asked he thought the ASA hierarchy were trying to undermine his position.   Asked if it was a distraction for him as he tried to concentrate on the Olympics, Farina said, “I will be totally up front with you, it was a distraction. It was a distraction more so for the team and I thought it was a bit unfair on them going into that tournament.”   Asked how he thought the team went and if there are any players knocking on national teams door on a more permanent basis from the Under 23 players, Farina said, “However I thought the boys showed and played some good stuff during that tournament.   “Do I believe there are some players that will come through? Without a doubt. Some players like (Ahmad) Elrich performed exceptionally well, Alex Brosque, Tim Cahill, Jade North and Luke Wilkshire as well, so I believe further down the track these players will push into making the Socceroo squad.   “In general, we did okay and we were a bit stiff in the end against Iraq. I really felt we deserved to go through in that game, but if you don-t take your chances, well you won-t progress. I thought there was a lot of positives which came out of that tournament.”   Farina also dismissed reports from several commentators that football should not be part of the Olympics and hopes it will stay on the Olympic program.   “I personally do,” when asked if he wanted it to stay. “We-ve seen in previous games, not necessarily in this one, football is usually the biggest draw card in terms of spectators.   “In terms of developing players, not just in respect to Australia but all around the world, it-s a great tournament. So I believe it certainly has its place in the games.”   Farina also welcomed the news of Vince Grella-s move to Parma that will re-unite him with Qantas Socceroo teammate and good pal Marco Bresciano.   “I spoke to Vince yesterday and he is obviously very happy. It went right down to the wire in terms of the transfer window closing. He is excited about the move.   “I won-t say it-s going to be a big step because he-s already been playing regularly in the Serie A, but it-s a big club and hopefully Vince will get to play a lot of games and cement his spot in the team and for us, in terms of the National Team, it-s a big positive.”