Graham Arnold's decision to call-up 16 A-League players to Olyroos duty prior to the international window has left Western Sydney Wanderers coach Markus Babbel fuming at the 'disastrous' impact upon his squad.
Babbel will be without Australian U23's trio Abraham Majok, Keanu Baccus and Tass Mourdoukoutas for Sunday's clash against Wellington Phoenix with Arnold ordering the Olyroos to assemble in Kuala Lumpur a week prior to their first clash against Cambodia on March 23.
While Arnold is desperate to get more out of an under-performing Olyroos, his decision to infringe upon the A-League season in the process hasn't impressed Babbel.
"This is a disaster for us. We try to bring young players into the A-League and the thanks from the league is to take the players away," Babbel said on Thursday.
"Keanu Baccus was in outstanding form - he was a very important player for us. This hurts us.
"This is for us a disaster and a new experience for me because in Europe this is not possible in the season, the players just going away because it's not an international break.
"You want to see young players in the A-League but we have to think twice whether we bring so many younger players here in because then there's a period there where you can't use them and it's not good for the clubs or the national team."
To make matters worse for Babbel, Mark Bridge has picked up another muscle-related injury, though it's unclear how serious the injury is.
The Wanderers coach isn't alone in his disappointment of Arnold's decision to call up A-League players at a crucial point of the season with Melbourne Victory's Kevin Muscat also unhappy after losing Thomas Deng.
"We were having strong conversations with FFA because I wanted Tommy to stay. In the end reluctantly, based on the Club Participation Agreement (CPA), we released him," Muscat said.
"FFA and Graham decided they’d invoke the CPA, which is outdated and detrimental to our competition. Legally we didn’t have a leg to stand on, otherwise I would’ve made a stand.
"I’m a big advocate for (the A-League). If qualifiers and friendlies are more important, then the A-League should have stopped.
"By taking 15-odd players, you’re saying it’s not important. It’s a slap in the face for the A-League and brought the whole competition into disrepute."
The Olyroos are set to play three games as part of qualification for the AFC U23 Championship across March 23-26 with matches against Cambodia, Chinese Taipei and South Korea.