Mark Bresciano encouraging influx of Australians to the Middle East
Australia's Brett Holman, center, celebrates with fellow team members Harry Kewell, left, and Mark Bresciano, right, after scoring a goal during the World Cup Group D soccer match between Ghana and Australia at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, South Africa, on Saturday, June 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Holger Osieck’s Socceroos have recently been questioned for their recent form and labelled ‘Dad’s Army’, but one standout in recent performances has been the rejuvenated Mark Bresciano – partly down to his form in the Middle East.
After taking a national team break, Bresciano has been the spark which the Socceroos have recently lacked, with an exceptional range of passing and the creativity to either create chances or to finish them off himself.
It was evident during the recent friendlies against Scotland and Lebanon that the Melbournian was on form, scoring a stunning volley against the Scots, before creating two of the Green and Gold’s goals against the Lebanese.
Bresciano has found a new life to his Socceroos career in the Middle East, first with UAE club Al Nasr, before signing with Qatari side Al-Gharafa last month.
At Al Nasr is where the former Palermo playmaker regained his form with ten goals from 17 games, which prompted Osieck to call back the 32-year-old.
Many believe players move to the Middle East to finish their careers, or to gain a quick buck, but Bresciano’s success has led others to seeing the Gulf states as a viable option with an influx of Australians jumping ship to the Middle East.
Socceroos Skipper Lucas Neill is currently at his second Emirati club, after joining Al Wasl recently from Al Jazira, the former happened to be coached by Diego Maradona last season.
Follow Socceroo defenders Sasa Ognenovski and Matt Spiranovic have just joined Qatari sides Umm-Salal and Al-Arabi respectively, continuing Asian clubs fond of strong Australian defenders.
UAE Pro League side Baniyas was recently interested in Brisbane Roar’s Erik Paartalu, but the Roar and Paartalu were reluctant depart, hence why they signed Nick Carle on loan from Sydney instead.
One may ask why all of a sudden are the Gulf clubs interesting in Australians?
Since Australia was accepted into the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Australian players are categorized as Asian players, so most AFC leagues can register Australians without taking up a foreign spot in their squad.
But why would one move to such a cultural diverse country?
Not only is the financial aspect appealing, the quality of the leagues in the Gulf are improving year by year.
Australians would also be closer to World Cup Qualifiers; they are prepared for the conditions which World Cup Qualifiers in Asian present and they waste less time travelling from Europe back to Asia.