Kuol brothers in Olyroos squad, Circati unavailable

George Clarke |

Socceroo Garang Kuol will hope to put European club problems aside and star for the Olyroos in Asia.
Socceroo Garang Kuol will hope to put European club problems aside and star for the Olyroos in Asia.

Olyroos coach Tony Vidmar is challenging Garang Kuol to show why he remains among Australian football’s most exciting prospects after enduring one of the most turbulent spells in his nascent career.

Kuol, 19, was one of only a handful of Europe-based players called up to Vidmar’s squad for West Asian Football Federation (WAFF) under-23 Championship later this month.

The tournament in Saudi Arabia is the Olyroos’ final preparation ahead of next month’s under-23 Asian Cup in Qatar, where spots at the Paris Games are up for grabs.

The under-23 Asian Cup falls outside of world governing body FIFA’s window for availability, meaning clubs are not compelled to release players for call-ups.

That has meant players including Parma defender Alessandro Circati, Brighton ace Cam Peupion and Hearts midfielder Calem Nieuwenhof were left out. 

Rayan Ait-Nouri and Cameron Peupion.
Brighton’s Cam Peupion wins a header during his recent starting debut in the FA Cup against Wolves. (AP PHOTO)

But it gives a golden opportunity to Kuol, who is on loan from Premier League side Newcastle United at struggling Dutch club Volendam, and has barely seen game time in recent months.

And Vidmar hopes the chance to reunite with elder brother Alou will bring the best out of the teenage winger.

“Garang has been in a little bit of a difficult predicament at Volendam,” Vidmar told AAP.

“They’ve changed board, coach – and the new coach has changed his system which doesn’t suit Garang.

“This is an opportunity for them (Garang and Alou) to show what they can do.

“We just want them to play their football and both boys understand our culture and our expectations as a team.”

The excitement at potentially seeing Kuol rekindle his career is offset by the numerous unavailabilities that have forced Vidmar’s hand.

Most notable of those is Circati, who was left out of Graham Arnold’s Socceroos squad for the Asian Cup with an eye to calling him up for the Olyroos.

M'Bala Nzola and Alessandro Circati.
Parma’s Socceroos defender Alessandro Circati (right) keeps an opponent at bay in the Italian Cup. (EPA PHOTO)

“In conversations with (Circati) previously I know he was excited to be a part of it,” Vidmar said.

“The club, unfortunately for us, has the final say outside the window so for the moment he’s a no, unless his club wins the title in the next few weeks.”

Sixteen members of Vidmar’s squad ply their trade in the A-League Men, among them Macarthur FC midfielder Jake Hollman and his younger brother Corey of Sydney FC.

Adelaide United youngster Nestory Irankunda has been left out while Western United striker Noah Botic (navicular) is sidelined through injury.

Winger Marco Tilio, on loan at Melbourne City from Celtic, misses out with a hamstring injury.

Australia’s squad is unlikely to change drastically between the WAFF Championship and the under-23 Asian Cup, where Olympic qualification is on the line.

The Olyroos must finish third or better to guarantee their passage to the Paris Games.


Goalkeepers: Patrick Beach, Cameron Cook, Steven Hall.

Defenders: Hosine Bility, Giuseppe Bovalina, Jordan Courtney-Perkins, Jacob Farrell, Jake Girdwood-Reich, Jacob Italiano, Lucas Mauragis, Mark Natta, Alexandar Popovic.

Midfielders: Louis D’Arrigo, Corey Hollman, Jake Hollman, Ryan Teague, Patrick Yazbek, Rhys Youlley.

Forwards: Lachlan Brook, Alou Kuol, Garang Kuol, Nicolas Milanovic, Jahce Novello, Adrian Segecic, Nishan Velupillay, Thomas Waddingham.