Olyroos call up Anderson

Zach Anderson (far right).
Zach Anderson (far right). Cameron Spencer

DARK clouds have been billowing around Gold Coast United recently, but the Sunshine Coast's Zac Anderson has caught sight of a silver lining.

The 20-year-old defender was one of 10 debutants named yesterday in the Olyroos squad for next Wednesday's Olympic qualifier dead rubber against Iraq in Gosford.

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Anderson said he was taken aback when informed of his selection in the Australian under-23 side, but described it as a welcome piece of good news after a tough couple of weeks.

It will be Anderson's first international under-23 cap, although he has represented Australia - three times in 2009 - with the under-20 Youth Socceroos.

Anderson will play for the Gold Coast against the Newcastle Jets on Friday night before going into camp with the Olyroos on Monday.

It is mathematically impossible for the Olyroos to qualify for the London Games and coach Aurelio Vidmar will use the Iraq game to blood 10 new names in the 18-man squad.

Gold Coast United was stripped of its A-League licence last week, leaving Anderson and his teammates in the dark about their future.

The A-League subsequently stepped in to ensure Gold Coast played its remaining matches of the season.

Anderson said he was determined to make a fist of the opportunity with the Olyroos in the hope of earning a contract for next season.

"It's definitely been a tough couple of weeks, but it's nice to get a bit of recognition," he told the Daily yesterday.

"It couldn't have come at a better time for me personally. I'm obviously in talks with a few people. So hopefully I get a game next Wednesday night and I can play well and it can help my chances."

A town hall meeting of fans, players, officials and potential investors was held last night on the Gold Coast in the hope of saving the club.

Anderson said he was hopeful United would be preserved and added the side's survival was vital to the health of the entire Queensland sporting landscape.

"In my opinion this goes beyond Gold Coast United - it's a Queensland sporting issue," he said.

"In the past we've had three teams playing football in Queensland. With Gold Coast United leaving the competition, it only leaves one club in Queensland.

"When you think about it, there are thousands of kids who grow up playing football in Queensland.

"For the opportunity to be decreased by 23 senior player places and another 16 player places in our youth team, it makes it harder to ply your trade in Queensland."

Anderson, Gold Coast teammate Chris Harold, Melbourne Victory duo James Jeggo and Lawrence Thomas, Nick Fitzgerald of the Brisbane Roar, Melbourne Heart's Craig Goodwin, Sydney FC's Mitchell Mallia, Jacob Pepper of the Newcastle Jets, Josh Risdon of the Perth Glory and Tom Rogic of the Central Coast Mariners were the new names in the Olyroos squad.

Topics:  iraq

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