The end of the world

Posted Friday, December 25, 2009 by smh.com.au

A CONFRONTATION is looming between club and country after Sydney FC yesterday confirmed they won't allow key players Simon Colosimo and Alex Brosque to leave before the end of the season to pursue their World Cup dreams.

Both Brosque, 26, and Colosimo, 30, have been selected in a 23-man squad laden with A-League players for next month's Asian Cup qualifier in Kuwait, and Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek again laid down the law this week by making it clear any local player hoping to go to the World Cup needed to keep playing right through until the draft squad is selected on May 11. With the A-League season starting to wind down from mid-February, Verbeek's edict could trigger a mass exodus of leading players on the eve of the finals series. Verbeek has named 15 local players for the Kuwait game, but as many again will be fancying their World Cup chances, despite the long odds of making the final cut.

Surprisingly, Football Federation Australia has stayed mute about what could be a damaging blow to the box-office appeal of the finals series.

Sydney FC, however, have decided to make a stand, with vice-chairman Scott Barlow making it clear both Brosque and Colosimo were required players as long as the Sky Blues remained in the title chase. ''Everyone at Sydney FC is very focused on finishing the season as strongly as possible, and having a successful finals campaign,'' Barlow said.

''To do this, we must have all of our players available. We will not be releasing any players prior to the finals series. That's a decision which has been made with the full backing of the coach [Vitezslav Lavicka]. The club is willing to help Simon and Alex and anyone else we can in arranging loan deals, but only after the finals campaign has ended.

''We understand there are timing issues around the transfer window closing, but we also understand there could be other options, such as the Chinese Super League or certain Scandinavian competitions. However, winning the grand final is a big prize for us, absolutely. We are entirely focused on that, and that goes for everyone within the club.''

Asked whether the club versus country dilemma had the potential to derail Sydney's season, Barlow added: ''I don't think it's a distraction at all. The fact is, it's [call-up] fantastic news for both Simon and Alex and it's great news for Sydney FC. It's evidence of the good things that are happening at the club that the performances of Simon and Alex haven't gone unnoticed.''

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