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Kewell misses out on Beijing -

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Kewell misses out on Beijing

The World Today - Friday, 4 July , 2008 12:39:00

Reporter: Karen Barlow

ELEANOR HALL: He is one of the biggest names in Australian soccer but Harry Kewell won't be
representing his country at the Beijing Olympics.

The 18-member Olyroos team was announced in Sydney today and Kewell was left off the list of
players; the vast majority of whom were under the age of 23.

The coach of the Olyroos, Graeme Arnold, has been speaking about the team selection to the ABC's
Olympics reporter Karen Barlow.

GRAEME ARNOLD: Harry is ... he put the country before his club first. He made the decision that at
this time, you know, we have been communicating for the last six weeks about the Olympics.

He was very keen to come, but he didn't want to let the team or the country down by ... with his club
situation, not knowing exactly where he was going to be.

Or if a club refused him that he went to the Olympics that he would have to pull out and leave us
one player short, so Harry made that decision.

I think it's a very honourable decision not to come and to let us get on with our preparation.

KAREN BARLOW: So he has found his club in Turkey and you're basically saying he would have been a
risk if he hadn't signed up with that club?

GRAEME ARNOLD: Oh yeah, if he ... well, he has signed in Turkey but at the end of the day, Harry ... it
was going to be always difficult for Harry to come when he goes to a new club unless that club
gives him permission.

We don't have FIFA power over over-age players so the club always has the right to say no. The club
probably wasn't happy with Harry coming to the Olympics, because they want him to join their team
and as I've seen and said in the past unless, unless you can get at least to the conditions in Asia
three weeks before, you're not giving yourself time to acclimatise and if Harry had come in late,
he wouldn't have been able to do his best job.

KAREN BARLOW: Will he be missed in the side? I mean, why have you gone for the three over-age
players you have gone with?

GRAEME ARNOLD: Yeah, of course Harry will be missed. He is a quality player. I'm very happy with
the three over-age players. Two of them especially I can get straightaway and they can do the whole
preparation with us, but look, there was difficulties for the over-age players from Europe because
of the timing of the competition.

Some players are in the Champions League or playing Champions League football in early August. Some
have gone to new clubs so the timing was very difficult but I am very happy with the three over-age
players I've got.

KAREN BARLOW: Overall, what sort of team is this 2008 Olyroos team?

GRAEME ARNOLD: Oh, we've got a lot of speed and a lot of athleticism in the side. We have strong
character. It is a mature Olympic team in age. It's one that I think that will do very well.

KAREN BARLOW: A difficult group to start off with and also difficult conditions with the heat. How
do you think with those elements, the team will fare?

GRAEME ARNOLD: You know, we may be able to use the Asian conditions to our advantage because we
have been there and done that for two years and they haven't, so lets hope they get the surprise or
they're not prepared as well as we are.

ELEANOR HALL: Olyroos coach, Graeme Arnold, speaking to Karen Barlow.