Topor-Stanley hopeful of home-town match
He didn’t know it at the time of his media appearance on Monday afternoon, but Nikolai Topor-Stanley’s chances of playing for the national team in his home city of Canberra, had just greatly improved.
He didn-t know it at the time of his media appearance on Monday afternoon, but Nikolai Topor-Stanley-s chances of playing for the national team in his home city of Canberra, had just greatly improved.
Not that Topor-Stanley was looking for the sympathy nod from Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek, but his main rival for the spot at left fullback - Adelaide-s Scott Jamieson - was being ruled out of the match with a foot injury, paving the way for a start against Kuwait on Thursday night at Canberra Stadium.
Melbourne Victory duo Danny Allsopp (fractured cheekbone) and Billy Celeski (hip) have also been ruled out of the match, following Saturday night's Hyundai A-League 2009 Grand Final.
Topor-Stanley is the only local player in the now 21-man squad and made no secret that he would dearly love to play in front of his family, friends and his home supporters.
“Yeah definitely, I mean it-s the town where I grew up, so it holds a lot of importance for me to come back here and represent my country,” he replied, when asked if this match held special significance for him.
“My mother and brother are here and a lot of school friends and people I grew up with are here. Hopefully there will be a few people there.”
It-s been a hectic month for the tall defender, who finished with Perth Glory and then headed to England for a series of trials with several Championship sides.
Having already committed to the Newcastle Jets to play in the AFC Champions League, he is now back and training hard in preparation for the Jets first game in a little over a week-s time.
To his credit, the former Glory player, neither expects or wants to be given a spot just because he is from Canberra and wants to earn his spot on merit.
“There is no expectation from me, just because I am from Canberra,” he said bluntly. “I don-t think he (Pim Verbeek) is going to take that into consideration.
“I have just got to prove to him that I am more than capable of playing up to my ability and get a starting position.
“It-s a pretty big squad, but it-s up to him if he picks me or not and I am not going to be too fazed by that, I am just going to worry about my own performances.
“I am now in Newcastle and back on the east coast, so I am fighting fit and raring to go.”
“I-m hopeful that I will play, that-s my first priority.”
The match is the first international to be played in Canberra for 13 years and is a vitally important match towards qualifying for the 2011 Asian Cup finals in Qatar.
Australia sits in second spot, behind Oman and Indonesia, although having played one game less, so a win will see them jump to equal first on the Group B table.
The match represents a terrific opportunity for the people of Canberra to get out and watch the Socceroos.
Tickets for the match, which kicks-off at 8.00pm AEDT, are available from Ticketek (web: www.ticketek.com.au, Phone: 132 894 and all Ticketek agencies).