Qantas Joeys looking to roar at Lion Cup

The Qantas Joeys will next week commence preparations in earnest for October's FIFA U-17 World Cup qualifiers by participating in the eight-nation Lion City Cup Championship in Singapore.

The Qantas Joeys will next week commence preparations in earnest for October's FIFA U-17 World Cup qualifiers by participating in the eight-nation Lion City Cup Championship in Singapore.

The tournament has become one of the region-s most prestigious international youth competitions since its inception in 1977.

Australia have been drawn into Group A alongside the United Arab Emirates, Chinese Taipei and Singapore B, while the other group will feature Singapore A, Vietnam, Uzbekistan and Thailand, with the two group winners to meet in the final.

The last international matches for the Qantas Joeys, also in Singapore, were last October's preliminary qualification matches for this year's AFC U-16 Championship to be held in Uzbekistan, October 4-19.

The top four teams in the 2008 AFC U-16 Championship will qualify for the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup to be held in Nigeria.

"This tournament will be a great opportunity to blend the team together and also compete against different styles of football, but against similar opposition to that which we fill face in the qualifiers," said coach Martyn Crook.

"The tournament which will also be a further step in our preparation towards October, is likely to be quite challenging as we will compete against some good opposition and also against players one year older in some instances."

Fixtures: Australia V Chinese Taipei 10 March, Choa Chu Kang Stadium

Australia V United Arab Emirates 12 March, Jalan Besar Stadium

Australia V Singapore B 13 March, Jalan Besar Stadium

Finals - 15 March, Jalan Besar Stadium Winner Group A v Winner Group B, Runner-up Group A v Runner-up Group B Grp A 2nd runners-up v Grp B 2nd runners-up Grp A 3rd runners-up v Grp B 3rd runners-up

The Qantas Joeys squad for the Lion City Cup Championship is: Eli Babalj (WA), Chris Bush (ACT), Million Butshiire (WA), Nathan Farrell (SA), Petar Franjic (VIC), Brendan Hamill (NSW), Kamal Ibrahim (VIC), James Jeggo (VIC), Robert Kolak (NSW), Jared Lum (NSW), Mitchell Mallia (NSW), Joel Miller (SA), Chahine Noujaim (SA), Trent Sainsbury (WA), Nikola Stanojevic (NSW), Nick Tubbs (QLD), Marc Warren (NSW), Tedros Yabio (VIC)

A notable absentee through injury is Ben Kantarovski who recently became the youngest player to sign for a Hyundai A-League club when he joined the Newcastle Jets.

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