Djite figuring prominently at training
As Qantas Socceroo coach Pim Verbeek put his team through a hard session on Tuesday evening, former Adelaide United striker Bruce Djite was figuring prominently with many of the so-called starting side.
As Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek put his team through a hard session on Tuesday evening, former Adelaide United striker Bruce Djite was figuring prominently with many of the so-called starting side.
While there is still three more sessions to go before Saturday-s game against Qatar and things can change dramatically, the signs for Djite so far are encouraging that he may play a role in the crucial match in Doha.
Depending on which way Verbeek will play it, the now Turkish-based Genclerbirligi striker, may opt for Djite-s size and strength in the lone striker-s role and give captain Harry Kewell a license to play a little deeper.
However he is keeping a level head and if he gets a starting spot, he has no doubts he can do a job for the team.
“No one knows what the starting team will be,” he said after training. “But that-s why we come here; train hard and hopefully you get picked.
“That-s up to Pim and all we can do, is our best on the field and leave those decisions to him.
“Of course, otherwise I wouldn-t be here,” he said, when asked if he was confident of doing a job if selected. “If I am asked to do something (in the game) I am more than capable of doing it.
“It-s just a matter of what Pim thinks is right for the situation and depending on the circumstances, I might play or might not.”
The 21-year-old says the mood in the camp is good and is not too worried by the lack of goals in recent matches.
“Yeah good; we had a day off yesterday (Monday); relaxed a bit and got our minds away from football for a bit. But we are back working; we-ve got to concentrate and focus over the next couple of days to make sure we are in the best position to win the upcoming game.
“I am not too sure (why the team is struggling to score goals)”, he said. “We-ve got a good defence, so a 1-0 victory is as good as a 3-0 victory, especially in a group that-s as close as our one is now.
“We are just concentrating on winning; we-re not worried about the lack of scoring goals. We-ve got enough quality to score many goals in the games and we did against Qatar in the first game, winning that one 3-0 and hopefully we can do that again this coming weekend.”
He is also not worried by the expected hotter conditions in Doha than they are currently experiencing in Dubai, which is an hour away, further up the Arabian Gulf.
“We played there with the Olyroos against Iraq and drew that game 0-0 and the boys adjusted well. We had no problems and we were only away for a week.
“This time we-ve been away for a couple of weeks and there is no reason why, since we-ve already played a game here, why I don-t think, a few degrees will make too much difference.”
There will be no rest for Djite, following the Socceroos camp, he heads to Darwin for yet another week long camp with the Qantas Under 23-s as they prepare for the Olympics in August.
“No time off,” he said. “After the China game in Sydney, we-ve got an Olyroos camp in Darwin the following day, which goes for about a week or so and then after that Arnie (Graham Arnold) names the team.
“My team in Turkey wants me back on the 5 July for a pre-season camp but I have to liaise with Arnie. I am just concentrating on the Socceroos for now and after that I will organise myself, get over there and then come back in time for the Olyroos upcoming camps.”
He also thinks the Olyroo players here in Dubai will have benefitted greatly from the past two weeks and personally he couldn-t think of a better way to prepare.
“Personally for myself, it-s been tremendously important, as I have just come back from a hamstring injury a month ago, so I am still getting back to full fitness. I am feeling very good now and I think my fitness has been accelerated greatly by coming to a camp like this in this temperature.
“The Olyroos find these camps very demanding and it-s good preparation for us; we-re playing with top level players and there is no better way to prepare for an Olympics.”
Given his hectic schedule with the two national teams, Djite says his new club Genclerbirligi has been very understanding, but is keen to get involved with them as soon as possible, even if its only for a short while.
“When they approached me initially they understood all the commitments I had,” he said. “When I went over there to sign the deal, I had about a 45 minute meeting with the manager. I also spoke with him today also and we-ve printed out the schedule for him; went through it together and they are very understanding.
“It-s good for them to have national team players in their team and they are happy for me to represent my country and won-t stand in my way. For myself, I think its important I go there for a bit of the pre-season because I haven-t met any of the boys or anything like that and I want to get a little bit involved if I can.”