U23s set for Tajikistan as Australia targets AFC U23 Asian Cup qualification

Some of Australia’s most talented and ambitious men’s footballers will travel to Tajikistan this week as Australia seeks to qualify for next year’s AFC U23 Asian Cup to be held in Uzbekistan.

The squad – currently in camp in Dubai ahead of their transit to Tajikistan – will play Indonesia in two matches in Dushanbe, with the winner over the two fixtures advancing to next year’s AFC U23 Asian Cup.

Originally Australia had been scheduled to play Indonesia, as well as China PR and Brunei Darussalam in Group G of Asian qualifying, however after the latter two nations withdrew from qualifying the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) reconfigured the Group B match schedule. Australia will now need to defeat Indonesia in a two-match series to advance to Uzbekistan 2022.

Football Australia’s National Technical Director and Joeys (U17s) Head Coach, Trevor Morgan, will coach the team, on an interim basis, in Tajikistan.

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Morgan said the players that have arrived in Dubai ahead of Australia’s qualifiers in Tajikistan have entered camp with energy and enthusiasm, excited by the challenge ahead.

“It has been great to see how much it means to the players to come together,” Morgan said. “They love representing Australia and have not had the opportunity to for such a long time.”

“We have been delighted with the energy and enthusiasm that the players have shown since they’ve arrived in Dubai. While logistical and operational challenges around COVID prevented the group from arriving as one, the majority of the squad are now settled in camp and have been putting some fantastic work in on the training pitch.”

The squad we’ve selected for next week’s qualifiers casts a real eye to the future, with the core of the squad age-eligible to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in three years’ time.

“The bulk of the players in the squad have already earned A-League Men’s match minutes, and we believe that each player’s time within the national team environment this month will serve to complement his development. This is something that shone through in the last U23s cycle under Graham Arnold, with players such as Harry Souttar, Denis Genreau, Riley McGree, and Connor Metcalfe combining club football and youth national team activity on their respective paths to their Socceroos debuts.

“We’re very thankful for the support of several overseas and A-Leagues clubs in sending their players to camp as early as possible. This has given the players vital extra time to build understanding, and highlights the club’s recognition of what wearing the Australian jersey means for Australian players,” he said.

In addition to the players confirmed to travel to Tajikistan, three young players have been invited to train with the group in Dubai. Thymos Caroutas (UE Cornella, Spain), Aydan Hammond (uncontracted), and Matthew Scarcella (Xanthi FC, Greece) will each spend valuable time in the national team environment in the United Arab Emirates as Football Australia seeks to identify more players for the future.

Australia is currently scheduled to play Indonesia in Dushanbe on Wednesday, 27 October 2021 and Saturday, 30 October 2021, with both matches kicking off at 5pm local time (11pm AEDT). Match coverage and/or streaming information, and other qualification tournament updates, will be advised through the official Socceroos social media handles in the lead up to each fixture. 

Australia U23 Men’s National Team Squad – AFC U23 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2022 Qualifiers (Group G) – Dushanbe, Tajikistan (Neutral Territory)


Club, Country

Junior Club (Member Federation)


Western United FC, Australia

Melbourne Lions FC (Football Victoria)

Zaydan BELLO

Melbourne Victory FC, Australia

Sporting Whittlesea (Football Victoria)

Jordan BOS

Melbourne City FC, Australia

Hoppers Crossing SC (Football Victoria)


Western United FC, Australia

Hurstville ZFC (Football NSW)

Lachlan BROOK

Brentford B, England

Gawler Eagles FC (Football South Australia)


Connah’s Quay FC, Wales

Unanderra Hearts FC (Football NSW)


Radkow Czestochowa, Poland

Brisbane City FC (Football Queensland)


Western United FC, Australia

Melbourne Knights FC (Football Victoria)


Melbourne City FC, Australia

Modbury Vista SC (Football South Australia)


Borussia Monchengladbach II, Germany

Inglewood United FC (Football West)

Alessandro LOPANE

Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Australia

APIA Leichhardt FC (Football NSW)


Newcastle Jets FC, Australia

Merimbula Grasshoppers FC (Football NSW)


Central Coast Mariners FC, Australia

Pittwater RSL FC (Football NSW)

Fabian MONGE

Xanthi FC, Greece

Mount Pritchard (Football NSW)


Sydney FC, Australia

Sydney United Juniors FC (Football NSW)


Wellington Phoenix FC, New Zealand

Castle Hill United FC (Football NSW)

Nicholas SUMAN (Gk)

Macarthur FC, Australia

Colo Cougars SFC (Football NSW)


Sydney FC, Australia

Gymea United FC (Football NSW)


Mjallby AIF, Sweden

Canberra Croatia FC (Football NSW)

Patrick WOOD

Sydney FC, Australia

Collaroy Cromer Strikers FC (Football NSW)

Patrick YAZBEK

Sydney FC, Australia

Austral Soccer Club (Football NSW)