The Olyroos’ do-or-die Tokyo 2020 qualifiers will be a test of the new relationship between clubs, the newly independent A-League and the FFA.
Many A-League clubs will be without key U23 players both during the crucial January period as well as during preparations.
Riley McGree (Adelaide), Ivan Vujica (Western United) and Reno Piscopo (Phoenix) are just three Olyroos stars likely to be needed before and during January.
This will be an early test of club v country for the new A-League, which is set to be run separately from the FFA for the first time.
There are calls to give Olyroos the best possible preparation for a tournament they last appeared at 11 years ago.
The Aussie coach who inspired Malaysia’s run to the AFF U18 final in Vietnam this week, where they lost 1-0 to the Young Socceroos, says the Olyroos must be given every opportunity to succeed.
“It depends on what the priorities are,” Brad Maloney, the former Socceroo and now coach of Malaysia U19s tells FTBL.
“If the priority for Australian football is to qualify for this Olympics then you have to give Arnie all the time and all the players he needs.
“I believe the clubs have to support the national team.
“Otherwise if that doesn’t happen, it says playing in these tournaments is not important anymore.
“And I don’t agree with that.”
Only the semi-finalists will qualify for Tokyo 2020 out of an AFC U23 tournament set to kick off on January 8 and run until January 26 in Bangkok.