Belconnen United youngster Timothy Boke has been named in Trevor Morgan’s 23-man Joeys squad for the 2018 AFC U/16 Championships in Malaysia later this month.
Morgan, who over the past two months has overseen training camps in New South Wales and Victoria with some of Australia’s most talented teen footballers, has settled on a squad containing 17 players currently aligned to Hyundai A-League clubs, five players that feature in state-based competitions, and one overseas based player – Tristan Hammond of Sporting Lisbon in Portugal.
Morgan’s squad will face a tough test in Group D of the 2018 AFC U16 Championship where they will face defending champions Iraq, Korea Republic, and Afghanistan. Nevertheless, the Joeys boss is confident his side have the capacity to excel while in Malaysia.
“I am very excited about the quality in the squad,” said Morgan. “We have players from all over Australia, and one who plays in Portugal.”
“We have had two very successful camps in the last couple of months. These boys have earned an opportunity to represent their country and all are focused on performing to a standard that can win the 2018 AFC U16 Championship.
“We will come together for a couple of days in Sydney before departing for a brief pre-tournament camp. In these days we will continue to refine our understanding, and make sure the boys are conditioned to perform.
“Competition for inclusion in the starting line-up will be strong, as we have two players for every position but also several who can play two or three positions,” he said.
Australia qualified for the 2018 AFC U16 Championship in Malaysia after topping Group I of the qualification process in Mongolia last September. The Joeys finished ahead of Vietnam, Cambodia and Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar.
The Joeys squad will convene on Sunday, 9 September in Narrabeen before traveling to Kuala Lumpur for their pre-tournament camp on Wednesday, 12 September 2018. The team will play their first match on Saturday, 22 September against Korea Republic before challenging Iraq in their second group game on Tuesday, 25 September. Australia will round out its group stage campaign against Afghanistan on Friday, 28 September 2018.
To qualify as one of Asia’s representatives for the 2019 FIFA U17 World Cup in Peru, Australia must reach at least the semi-final stage of the tournament.
Meanwhile, experienced Pararoos squad member, Ben Roche, will join the team’s staff during the Championship. Roche will take charge of team operations and logistics with guidance from current Team Manager, Marty Judge.
FFA’s Head of National Teams, Luke Casserly, said the organisation is pleased to provide an opportunity to one of Australia’s most committed Pararoos.
“Ben [Roche] has played 41 times for the Pararoos since he made his debut in 2005 against Japan,” said Casserly. “Ben has also played an important role in helping to fundraise for the Pararoos, and raise the team’s profile by assisting with community events and other initiatives, including the team’s recent documentary.”
“We’re pleased to have been able to provide Ben with this professional development opportunity and are sure that he will make a great contribution to the Joeys’ campaign in Malaysia,” he said.