FFA Announces Olyroo Cap

Melbourne Heart FC will lose a maximum of three players to Olyroos duty after Football Federation Australia announced a cap on the number of players called up per club for the upcoming Olympic qualifiers in February.

Melbourne Heart FC will lose a maximum of three players to Olyroos duty after Football Federation Australia announced a cap on the number of players called up per club for the upcoming Olympic qualifiers in February.

The Olyroos play Uzbekistan in Tashkent on Sunday 5 February and the United Arab Emirates in Al Ain on Wednesday 22 February as the side bids to qualify for the 2012 London Games.

Heart was poised to lose up to six players for the entire month of February, with emerging stars Eli Babalj, Brendan Hamill and Curtis Good in contention to join Olyroo regulars Aziz Behich, Mate Dugandzic and Jason Hoffman.

FFA-s voluntary ruling provides Hyundai A-League clubs with a degree of certainty heading into the closing stages of the season, enabling sides to remain relatively unchanged as one of the closelst seasons in competition history reaches a crescendo.

Chief Executive Officer Scott Munn said the ruling would enable Heart to continue to mount a concerted tilt at achieving finals football for the first time in its history.

“It's very important as we are about to have the heaviest workload of the year and with up to five players missing on top of injuries we would have had to bring in a number of youth team players just to fill the squad,” Munn said.

“The football department had spoken about it, our preference would've been to look at the youth team, and if need be look for injury replacements, but we were pretty limited in terms of options.

“It was looking pretty grim, but now we think we can continue to fill a very competitive team.”

FFA National Technical Director, Han Berger said: “The impact on the A-League clubs is something we always take into consideration when developing the under-age national teams program.

“In this case, Aurelio Vidmar is confident he can select a very strong squad within the limits of using no more than three players per club.

“As a result, the A-League clubs can plan with some certainty for the period when the players will be away for these very important Olympic qualification matches.”