Bite-sized news for you to chew over - Perth's glorious gesture in South Africa, Okon lays down the gauntlet to his Young Socceroos and more
The good feeling surrounding Perth Glory's South African tour continues, though this time it is off the pitch that the club has impressed. Ian Ferguson's men won two of their three matches against South African Premier Soccer League opponents, while the Scottish coach has also hailed the camaraderie built on the tour. And a day after their final tour match, Glory's squad showed their conscientious side by donating pieces of their training kit and several pairs of boots to the club, which plays two divisions below the top-flight. It is one of several activities the club undertook on the tour to integrate themselves in the community around them. "The community experience has been extremely humbling and really enlightening," Glory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic said. "A lot of the people here are far less fortunate than people in Australia and you wouldn't believe some of the sad sights that you get to see in this country on a daily basis. The locals have a wonderful, infectious smile and leaving our training gear with them was something all the playing wanted to do."
Brazilian Tiago Calvano could be set for a more further afield for the Newcastle Jets this A-League season. The 31-year-old central made 21 appearances for the club in his debut season, but - with the signing of former Perth Glory central defender Josh Mitchell and the development of youngsters Connor Chapman and Taylor Regan - the former Fortuna Dusseldorf man could find himself employed in midfield instead of his customary defence. "We've got plenty of cover as far as the back is concerned and it's another option that I thought we'd have a look at," Jets coach Gary van Egmond told The Newcastle Herald after his side won 2-0 over the club's youth side on Wednesday, with Tiago featuring for 30 minutes in a holding midfield role. "What he does is provide a lot of leadership and is a good talker in regards to the information he gives to the other midfielders and forwards... when and when not to press. That side of it was really good. He's obviously very comfortable on the ball. All in all he did well."
Jets forward Michael Bridges, meanwhile, has been granted a leave of absence from the club in order to return to his native England for family reasons. The 33-year-old former Leeds United and Sunderland forward will depart Australia on Saturday: "The club have been kind enough to let me go home to be with my family," Bridges said. "When you have family matters and you are this far away from home, it can be difficult. So I will head back to England this weekend, just to be there for my Dad and the rest of the family."
Australia Under-20 coach Paul Okon has laid down the gauntlet to the country's generation next. The Young Socceroos returned from 2013 AFC Under-22 Cup qualifying in Indonesia earlier in July having clinched a spot in the tournament, but were thumped 5-0 in their final group match against Japan. With his first major task as coach now behind him, Okon believes the onus is on the players to take the next step as they return to their clubs. "At the moment we have maybe only one player in the A-League in [Sydney FC midfielder] Terry Antonis, but he has had injury problems in the last year," Okon told Four Four Two Australia. So we don't have anyone who is playing regular A-League. And when we go to major tournaments that shows… With this group now there are a number of players on the edge and if they can make that breakthrough that improvement will happen."