NSW dominates Young Socceroos squad


As many as 16 promising young footballers calling NSW home have been selected in Paul Okon’s Young Socceroos 23-man squad for a series of upcoming international friendly matches in New Zealand.

The likes of the Sutherland Sharks duo of Lachlan Hughes and Charles Lokoli Ngoy as well as Sydney United 58’s Liam McGing were selected who all currently play for PS4 NPL NSW Men’s 1 clubs while former Football NSW Institute players Daniel Alessi, Shayne D’Cunha, Thomas Heward-Belle, Jordan Holmes, Anthony Kalik, Steve Kuzmanovski, Liam Rose, Liam Youlley, McGing and Hughes were also selected.

Young 16-year-old Daniel Arzani, a current Joeys player as well as Perry Fotakopoulos, both former Institute players and now FFA Centre of Excellence players won selection as did former APIA Leichhardt Tigers youth player George Blackwood and former Bankstown Berries/Marconi Stallions product Alusine Fofanah.

Former Sydney United 58 FC and now AFC Bournemouth keeper Jordan Holmes and ex-Sutherland Sharks and now Tottenham Hotspurs keeper Tom Glover also won their Green and Gold caps.

Along with the players, it will be the NSW born duo of Okon and assistant coach Milan Blagojevic who will lead the team.

Having narrowly missed out on qualification for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand, Okon is using the opportunity to play international friendly matches against nations that have qualified for U20 World Cup as part of his team’s preparations for the AFC U-19 Championship 2016 Qualifiers which will be held in from 28 September to 6 October 2015.

“This is an ideal opportunity for us to get a head start on our preparations for the AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers and the next U20 World Cup,” said Okon.

“The majority of the squad that we have selected are born in 1997 compared to our opposition who are born in 1995 to compete at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

“It’s important for us to play as many international matches against quality opposition for us to improve and give us a head start for qualifying for the next U20 World Cup.

“This is an ideal chance for this group of players to impress and show that they are capable of performing at international standard.

“A number of players from the Hyundai A-League were not considered for this tour due to the upcoming Finals Series, but they will definitely be considered for future matches,” concluded Okon.

The Young Socceroos will face New Zealand at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland on Sunday 3 May and then Qatar at the same venue on Thursday 7 May. They will then meet Panama at the Waikato Stadium, Hamilton on Sunday 10 May before their final match of the series against Ghana on Wednesday 13 May at the same venue.

The AFC U-19 Championships 2016 held from 13-30 October 2016.

The NSW boys selected:

Daniel ALESSI Western Sydney Wanderers FC,

Daniel ARZANI FFA Centre of Excellence, Australia

George BLACKWOOD   Sydney FC, Australia

Shayne D’CUNHA          Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Australia

Alusine FOFANAH         Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Australia

Perry FOTAKOPOULOS             FFA Centre of Excellence, Australia

Tom GLOVER (gk)        Tottenham Hotspur, England

Thomas HEWARD-BELLE (gk)   Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Australia

Jordan HOLMES (gk)    AFC Bournemouth, England Former Institute

Lachlan HUGHES          Sutherland Sharks, Australia Former Institute

Anthony KALIK Central Coast Mariners, Australia

Steve KUZMANOVSKI   Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Australia

Charles LOKOLI NGOY Sutherland Sharks, Australia

Liam McGING    Sydney United 58, Australia

Liam ROSE       Central Coast Mariners, Australia

Liam YOULLEY Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Australia

-By Mark Stavroulakis