Socceroos get a handle on Jordan
Sasa Ognenovski’s inside knowledge of football in the Middle East could be crucial for the Socceroos when they resume their World Cup qualification campaign against Jordan on Tuesday.
In Ognenovski’s six internationals in the region, Australia has conceded just one goal, recording four wins and two draws in the process.
Having recently joined Qatari club Umm-Salal, Ognenovski has gained a further insight which could prove invaluable en route to Brazil in 2014, starting on Tuesday.
“Maybe the heat makes me concentrate a bit more? I’m not sure,” joked Ognenovski.
“I think when you come to this region, we usually come in and we’re really focused because there’s all these factors that you throw in, the heat and sometimes the grounds aren’t the best and what not.
“When you’re over here you know what you’ve got to do and you’ve really got to knuckle down and concentrate and make sure that everything’s done right.”
A semi-professional footballer and full-time carpenter as recently as 2006, Ognenovski is now potentially six matches away from booking an appearance at the 2014 World Cup.
Such an achievement would cap an astonishing period for the 33-year-old, who since first appearing in the A-League with Brisbane Roar in 2006 has lifted the AFC Champions League trophy and been crowned Asian Footballer of the Year.
The Jordanians are unfamiliar opponents, the two nations having never met at senior international level, but Ognenovski has an idea of what to expect.
“From what I’ve heard coming out of Qatar, they’re a very strong team, they’ve got a great forward structure that gives most teams headaches,” he said on Sunday.
“We can use that and make sure that were focused and ready for anything they throw at us.”
Fellow defender Jade North is another assured the Socceroos are well prepared for the Jordanian challenge.
“It’s going to be a tough game, were playing them in their own backyard so, we’ve done our homework, we’ve been training hard, we know what to expect,” said North.
“We’ve played a number of teams from the Middle East now so we know what were up against – its all about turning up on the day and putting in a good performance.”
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