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Double focus: Aussie stars Cahill, McKay gear up for AFC Asian Cup

20140720_Tim-Cahill_Portrait_AFP_615x400Less than a month after exiting the World Cup in Brazil, Socceroos TIM CAHILL and MATT MCKAY are already thinking about competing for the hosts in January’s AFC Asian Cup, “the biggest football tournament in Asia”.

 

Interview by Doug Conway

 

How important is the Asian Cup to you?

Tim Cahill: Of course I want to be a part of the Asian Cup. It’s the biggest football tournament in Asia. I’ll always fight to be available and keep my body in the best shape I can to be involved. I’ve never made it a secret that I want to be a part of it.

 

How important is the Asian Cup for Australia?

Tim Cahill: Having the Asian Cup in Australia for the first time is something for our country to be really proud of. The eyes of more than half the world will be on us. We will have the best teams from all over Asia right here in our own backyard and we will have a chance to life the silverware. If we can manage it, it will be the biggest prize Australia has won.

 

What is your message for fans?

Tim Cahill: To have the stadiums full in Australia for the Asian Cup will be something special for not only me but the whole team. Ticket prices are very helpful for families, so we want to see the stadiums full and share something special with our fans. That will help us push for something special for Australia, so raise the roof and go crazy, get out there and support us. Make sure we can hear you because your support means everything to us.

 

20140718_matt-mckay_615How big an incentive is the Asian Cup for the Socceroos?

Matt McKay: Having the Asian Cup just six months away is a great goal for us. We will be kicking off the tournament against Kuwait in Melbourne on January 9 before facing Oman in Sydney and South Korea in Brisbane. We will have friendlies in between times, but they are our next matches in a competition format. We all want to get better and be there for the Asian Cup.

 

Several players who missed the World Cup through injury will be back in contention, putting the squeeze on those who performed so well in Brazil. How will they fit in?

Matt McKay: Everyone is fighting for places. That’s the way it should be because healthy competition is good for everyone. Ange (Postecoglou) has made it clear there are no guarantees for anyone. We have three friendlies before the Asian Cup, so they should give Ange a good guide to how everyone is progressing.

 

What about the chance to renew Australia’s great rivalry with Japan?

Matt McKay: Who can forget Australia’s victory over Japan at the 2006 World Cup, but Japan have the wood on us in the Asian Cup. They knocked us out in the quarter-finals in 2007 and of course beat us 1-0 with that extra-time winner in 2011. This time, on home soil, we will have the chance to win a competition we went so close to winning the last time in Qatar.

 

Source: AFC Asian Cup (www.afcasiancup.com); Editing by SportAsia

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