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Cambodia’s Ethnic Vietnamese Seek Tribunal Justice (Jakarta Globe)


Daniel Phan | March 15, 2012

Unable to own land, vote, or open a bank account, and subjected to regular discrimination, Ly Sokphhoung is an outsider in her own country.

Like most Yuon floating villagers living on Cambodia’s Tonle Sap lake, Ly, whose grandparents arrived from Vietnam during the French colonial era, leads an uncertain life and struggles daily with the realities of a stateless existence.

Still her hope of the United Nations-backed Khmer Rouge Tribunal hearing the Maoist regime’s genocidal crimes against ethnic Vietnamese has not waned, in spite of the age of the three elderly defendants: Nuon Chea, 85, Ieng Sary, 87, and Khieu Samphan, 80.

“We’ve had it tough for so long and while there’s relative peace now, some things haven’t changed. Local authorities still discriminate and make things like obtaining nationality harder for ethnic Vietnamese,” said Ly, who lost 36 members of her family under the Khmer Rouge regime.

Without nationality, many ethnic Vietnamese living on the margins of society in Kampong Chhnang province, like Ly, are unable move to the land, denied access to financial and state health services and face paying arbitrary taxes, in addition to regular harassment and discrimination from local authorities.

Due to past displacement, many lack the relevant documentation to prove their ancestral links to Cambodia.

“You must buy it,” Ly, 62, said of acquiring nationality, which she hopes the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia will assist her with.

“For a family, it’s around $500, or $1,000 if you want to hasten the process.

“I thought that when the Khmer Rouge were ousted they would at least provide Cambodian nationality to those who returned, but after coming home life has turned out to be one without freedom and liberties.”

After the Cambodian communists seized power in 1975, Ly spent two months in a labor camp before she found herself among 150,000 Vietnamese-Cambodians forcibly evicted in exchange for much-needed basics. She returned to her birth nation in 1983, four years after Vietnamese communist forces, triumphant from their reunification of North and South Vietnam and prompted by bloody border skirmishes in 1977, overthrew the Khmer Rouge.


Official demographic reports show that the Khmer Rouge successfully eliminated the remaining 20,000 Vietnamese in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979, although accounts are uncertain as some tried to hide their identity.

In seeking to “smash and sweep cleanly away Yuon enemies,” the Khmer Rouge deported them en masse before going after those who remained, which included killing children of ethnically mixed marriages. The Khmer Krom, indigenous to southern Vietnam, were also targeted for perceived association with the Yuon.

Lyma Nguyen, representing 43 ethnic Vietnamese civil parties in Case 002, said she is confident that, despite the legal complexities, there is ample evidence to convict the accused of waging genocide against the Vietnamese — charges they have denied.

“As a group, they were specifically singled out and a different crime was committed against them; the elimination of the group. The legal definition of genocide,” Nguyen said.

“They were deported en masse and some of them have seen mass executions of their families, and there are stories of the raping of Vietnamese girls, used as a punishment for just being Vietnamese,” she said.

“If the Vietnamese person in the relationship was a women, then all the children were ordered to be killed because there was this idea that the ‘Vietnamese-ness’ in a person is derived through the women because she carried their umbilical chord.”

An official radio broadcast in 1978 rallying Cambodians to exterminate the Vietnamese race and a number of equally vehement state publications attest to the regime’s intentions. But genocide, under the 1948 Geneva Convention, is notoriously difficult to prove.

And with no clear schedule as to when — or if — the tribunal will hear the charges, lawyers are managing their clients’ expectations should the court lose the race against time to pass judgement.

Transcending a verdict

Owing to the lengthy judicial process, the ECCC has so far delivered only one verdict since 2006, with the sentencing of Kaing Guek Eav (better known as Comrade Duch), whose initial commuted 19-year sentence was extended to life.

The controversy-prone tribunal, which has cost Phnom Penh and international donors about $200 million to date, has been dogged by claims of political interference. The Cambodian government, which is fiercely opposed to the potential Cases 002 and 003/004, has refused to endorse Swiss Laurent Kasper-Ansermet as the international co-investigating judge.

Lyma Nguyen, however, said she believed the ECCC could help repair race relations between Khmer and Vietnamese, in addition to finding justice for millions affected by the Khmer Rouge’s murderous rule.

The desired “longer-term outcome is that there is some understanding and appreciation from the mainstream society of the victim status of the Vietnamese” during the Khmer Rouge years, Nguyen said. “And I don’t expect that this would happen through the ECCC solely, but I think it’s one forum where this will be raised and have some positive outcomes.”

Cambodia has changed considerably since Ly Sokphhoung’s return. The scars of the past and the beleaguered social status of the ethnic Vietnamese have driven her to seek understanding.

“Wherever you live, you must develop affinity with its people, see eye-to-eye. Unfortunately, many of Khmer hardly treat us Vietnamese with any affection,” Ly said.

“But human emotions don’t discriminate: whether to a Vietnamese, Khmer or Cham. We’re all people. I never distinguish people by their ethnicity. I try to explain this to those I work for; they mostly understand me,” she added.

“Everyone accepts that if we continue fighting then this planet will one day be left with no one.”

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Playing from the heart (Leader Newspaper – News Ltd)

16 November 2010

Soccer | Daniel Phan

AUSTRALIA is a world away from Liberia, but for Melvin Becket the innocent memories of his life in the West African nation are relived every time a soccer ball is at his feet.

“Football (soccer) is more than a game to me, it’s a life,” Becket told Leader.

“Back in Liberia, football was played literally everywhere.

“I played it every day and it was more than just a game to me.

“I play it to relax, I play to forget about all my problems; and it certainly helps me take my mind off a lot of things.”

The former Maribyrnong College student, who lived in Sunshine North, left for the Australian Institute of Sport in January after a successful trial for a men’s football scholarship.

Recently, Becket has been training with Melbourne Heart and he is eager to continue working under head coach John van’t Schip and his two assistants, Jesper Olsen and Ante Milicic, on a longer-term basis.

“I’ve been with the Heart for the past three weeks and hope to return again,” he said. “Seriously, they’re just the best people to be around, and extremely caring.

“They are fantastic communicators and are very straight-forward with their coaching.

“My parents are paying the expenses like flying me in and out, but I’m really happy here; the coaches make sure you have a sense of belonging.”

While he has one eye on making the under-20 World Cup in Colombia, the 17-year-old’s immediate focus has not changed: to continue performing for the AIS in the National Youth League and earn his first senior A-League contract.

“I really want to make the (under-20) squad, but right now I’m just focusing on my performances week after week and, hopefully, I can earn a deal with the Heart in the near future,” he said.



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King of the kids Developing youth next for Coveny (Leader Newspaper – News Ltd)

23 November 2010

Soccer | Daniel Phan

FORMER South Melbourne coach Vaughan Coveny is being touted for a talented player development role with Football Federation Victoria.

With over a decade of professional soccer under his belt, a career in the sport’s youth development arm could be the next port of call for the Kiwi.

Through coaching under-14 kids at the AS Roma academy in Brunswick, Coveny, who lives in East Keilor, has realised his passion for working with youth.

“I’m really enjoying it so far,” he said. “These kids are just so coachable, and there’s a lot of respect (from them).”

Coveny, who will meet with FFV technical director Sean Douglas next month to discuss the possibility of acquiring a hands-on role with the Talented Player Department, is keen to aid develop the next generation of players.

“I’ve been fairly successful and know what it takes to make it at the top level in Australia,” he said. “I’d love to pull on all that experience and fill these kids with information.

“They are usually hand-picked and are in that mould already so it would be a really exciting opportunity.”

Douglas, who played with Coveny in the New Zealand national team, said successful candidates would head player-focused programs, which encourage playing soccer “the right way”.

“We are looking to send out the right philosophies to these kids,” Douglas said.

“We also must redefine winning and encourage mistakes from the kids. It’s like maths you don’t become the best by not making any mistakes. Mistakes have to be made for young players to learn, and Vaughan certainly has the experience, having played at international level, in the A-League and possessing coaching knowledge for a role with us.”

Coveny was stood down as South Melbourne coach after failing to steer the former Victorian Premier League champions into the 2010 finals series, despite a points deduction by Football Federation Victoria being largely to blame for the side’s shortcoming.

For more sport visit brimbankleader.com.au

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Preston girls claim Magpies Multicultural Cup (Leader Newspaper – News Ltd)

17 November 2010

Football | Daniel Phan

PRESTON Primary School’s girls’ football team will be looking to continue its winning ways after taking out the Collingwood Magpies’ Multicultural School’s Cup.

A valiant win over Mooroopna Primary School ensured the team progressed to the state multicultural finals, where it will meet the winners of multicultural cup programs run by other AFL clubs.

Despite losing to the country Victorians in the round robin stages, the girls from Preston

Primary School managed to edge out their opponents by a solitary goal, thanks largely to a huge team effort.

“It was interesting because we actually lost to them in earlier on,” Preston Primary sports co-ordinator Mary Kalogianis said. “The girls went into the grand

final as underdogs and managed to hold them so it was quite exciting.”

“But there was no one star player.”

Kalogianis also praised the initiative for giving kids who did not usually partake in competitive sports the unique opportunity to embrace team sports and get fit.


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Coming third, Gaunt has eyes on the world (Leader Newspaper – News Ltd)

16 November 2010

Golf | Daniel Phan

COMING third in the Australian Masters is just the start of bigger things for Daniel Gaunt.

The boy from Romsey briefly led the leader board after hitting a 16 in the first round, only to relinquish his advantage with a double bogey on Friday.

Despite a valiant effort, which saw him finish right above world No. 2 Tiger Woods, Gaunt is ruing relinquishing the lead, which ultimately cost him a maiden win on Australian soil.

“I’m shattered, to be honest, to have played very well, hitting a perfect 16,” Gaunt said.

Despite his disappointment, the 31-year-old has enjoyed the attention from the Victorian public, and family and friends.

“The whole experience has been amazing especially coming down the straight with everyone screaming your name,” he said.

“I’ve had numerous Facebook messages from people around Romsey. There’s been plenty of support from the town.

“It means all this hard work has started to pay off.”

Gaunt’s mother, Bev, could hardly describe her elation, given the economic pitfalls her sons endured in pursuing their sporting dreams.

“I’m very emotional at the moment, we’re really proud of both of them,” she said.

“It has been so tough on them, living away from their family it is very tough, financially and emotionally. People don’t realise how tough it is to make ends meet.

“It usually costs about a couple of thousand dollars getting to a tournament, the travel and accommodation, and there is a lot of pressure on the boys.”

Growing up on a farm in Romsey, there was never any doubt the direction in which Daniel and his older brother Chris would take their careers.

“They used to set up their own little golf course and played every day,” she said.

“Their father played golf at the Romsey club, as did their grandfather, so it was only natural that both Daniel and Chris played golf.”

Gaunt, who has vowed to return to next year’s tournament, has set his radar on one of golf’s most prestigious tournaments.

“My main goal is to qualify for the President’s Cup, and to push into the top 50 in the world rankings,” Gaunt said.

“And I also hope that I can help get new kids to join up and play golf at the local club. It’d be nice to bring Romsey on to the map.”


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Young captain Duzel destined for big things (Leader Newspaper – News Ltd)

23 November 2010

Soccer | Daniel Phan

ANTHONY Duzel is already a leader at age 13.

The fledgling midfielder is captaining the Western Wolves’ under-15 side in Football Federation Victoria’s Champions League.

But despite his tender years, Duzel had adapted quickly to the role, partly due to his experience with the Australian representative team at this year’s AFC (Asian Football Confederation) under-14 boys’ Festival of Football.

“At first, I was nervous because in the past the teams I played in rotated captains and there was nothing like motivational talks,” Anthony said.

“It’s also the first time that I’ve been a captain. When I was playing with the under-14 Australian team, I had to be mature so that helped (with being captain).”

The regional tournament, held in Malaysia, provided the Sydenham youngster with a glimpse of life at the top level where he’s aiming to find himself in a few years’ time.

“Our first game was amazing,” Anthony said. “To walk out in the national gear and be treated like professional players was unreal.

“Most of the Asian teams were really quick but I reckon Australia was the most skilful side, plus we were also one of the youngest there.”

Having impressed in his five appearances, Anthony was selected for the all-star team, in which he played alongside the tournament’s standout players.

“I was so happy to make that team and was buzzing the whole time,” Anthony said. “It was a really good experience, one I’ll never forget.”

Anthony will undergo trials with the Victorian Institute of Sport’s National Training Centre and the Australian Institute of Sport next year.

But his talent is not just being noticed locally.

Such is his potential Anthony has been scouted by English Premier League sides Blackburn Rovers and Everton.

But given Croatia’s (Anthony is eligible for a Croatian passport) status with the European Union, neither club could promise Duzel a junior contract for when he turns 16.

“That was exciting and disappointing (about Croatia not being in the EU) at the same time, but now I just have to keep working hard,” he said. “(But) hopefully, Croatia joins (the EU) before I turn 16 so I can apply for a passport and be free to join a team in England or elsewhere.”

Meanwhile, Anthony, whose father Ivan played professionally in Croatia and Australia, will be looking to keep his side’s lead on the Victorian Champions League’s table intact.


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Panthers take lead (Leader Newspaper – News Ltd)


30 NOV 10 @ 12:13PM BY DANIEL PHAN

THERE is a new lot down at Raeburn Reserve.

Thanks to the determined efforts of the Pascoe Vale Football Club, coupled with Moreland City Council’s push for gender equality in sports participation, a junior girls’ football team has joined the Panthers ranks.

Newly appointed club president Faye Biedukiewicz admitted it took a strenuous effort assembling the team, which will compete in the AFL Victoria Girls’ Youth League from next season.

“Next year we will be entering a women’s team who will play in AFL Victoria’s women’s competition,” Biedukiewicz told Leader.

“We were initially under the pump to approach players and coaching staff for the team but now we’re really pleased about having the team up and away.

“For the football club it definitely sends the message that the time has come (for women’s sport to be more widely accepted).”

The creation of a Panthers girls’ team ensures the club meets the council’s Grounds Allocation policy whereby it will get access to the necessary training and playing facilities.

“We know from our point of view that it can help us with the council and we also want to be inclusive with everyone in the community,” Biedukiewicz said.

It also means gender-appropriate facilities must be built to accommodate the girls. “Now we just have to wait for the council to install new changerooms and toilet facilities to accommodate for the girls,” Biedukiewicz said.

Moreland City Council’s pressing for a greater balance between males and females in sports participation has been praised by senior sports lecturer Johanna Adriaanse of the University of Technology Sydney.

Adriaanse said a change in attitude towards women in sport can only be realised if sporting clubs subjected to stringent council policies.

“Traditionally sport is male dominated, and you have to take certain measures to provoke some change,” she said. “Naturally, change won’t occur so quickly.

“Clubs need to have a plan in place that is open to both genders and connects all the people in the community who pay council rates.”

According to Moreland councillor Stella Kariofyllidis, the response to the Grounds Allocation policy has so far been overwhelmingly positive.

“It’s been very positive – the sporting clubs are doing the most they can (to embrace female participation at on-field and administrative level),” she said.

Pascoe Vale Football Club has indeed set a healthy example for other clubs.

An inherent football buff, Biedukiewicz said her gender would not define her ability to oversee the club’s operations as president.

“It’s time people realise that the passion for females is as much as men,” she said. “My job involves negotiating with the club for players and everything else.

“(And) hopefully I’ll become the first female president in the EDFL to bring home a premiership.”

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St Albans Saints welcome home Tom Milardovic (Leader Newspaper – News Ltd)


16 NOV 10 @ 04:17PM BY DANIEL PHAN

TOM Milardovic cannot contain his excitement about putting on the St Albans Saints strip again after spending almost six years away from the club.

The defender, who spurned an offer to remain with minor premiers Richmond Eagles in order to return his childhood club, already has his sights on a gruelling pre-season hit-out.

“I just can’t wait until pre-season,” Milardovic said.

The Saints are back in the Victorian Premier League fold after a five-year absence but, despite big expectations, Milardovic admitted their priority was retaining top-flight status beyond the 2011 season.

“We want to become a stable club,” Milardovic said. However, with a three-year plan in place, Milardovic is quietly confident the Saints will challenge for silverware in good time.

“We must be realistic, which means making sure we’re still in the Premier League for the following season before we can think too much about pushing for (the) finals,” he said.

“But everyone wants to win trophies and achieve at this club. I’m talking for all the boys, that’s what you play for – to win – and I think anything’s possible.”

Saints football operations manager Mark Ivkovic said the club was rapt to have secured its No. 1 off-season recruiting aim.

“The day we sealed the State League 1 championship we quickly began working on what areas we needed to improve on if we are going to be successful in the VPL,” he said.

“Milards (Milardovic) was our number one priority and we worked very hard to get him down here, so to finally secure his signature is very rewarding and exciting for the club.”

The 28-year-old is adamant his was the right choice in swapping the more-established set-up at Richmond for the familiar surrounds of Churchill Reserve.

“Richmond were disappointed and shocked initially but they understood after I explained the reasons,” Milardovic said. “I had a really good relationship with the coach and everything, but that’s football for you.

“It’s (St Albans) just home, and I really want to achieve at this club.”

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Star smorgasbord (Leader Newspaper – News Ltd)



SIX-TIME Victorian Premier League championship-winning coach Peter Ollerton has expressed concern about the lack of compensation from A-League clubs that recruit local talent from state league-competing sides.

Ollerton also called for Football Federation Australia to help state league clubs raise funds and publicity through some shrewd scheduling, should the recently-proposed FFA Cup become a reality.

“I like the idea of the FFA Cup; it would give the lesser-type clubs an opportunity to play against a higher level,” the former Green Gully boss said.

“The only thing I would query is that they would have to try to play the games at the lesser-type clubs’ stadiums, to help these clubs get money from attendances. The state league clubs would benefit financially and also get some publicity.

“It’s common sense.”

Ollerton believes State League clubs are not duly compensated for their developing and raising of local talent.

“A lot of players are taken from the Victorian Premier League for no cost,” he said. “When I was at Green Gully, nobody compensated us for Diogo Ferreira or Aziz Behich.

“I suppose at the end of the day, you make the player and the A-League clubs take them and you get nothing out of it.”

In 1986, former Socceroo Ollerton led Croydon City to the latter stages of the short-lived Australian Cup, which bears similarities to the FFA Cup, whereby top-flight domestic teams are pitted against their state counterparts.

“Back in the 1986-87 season, I coached Croydon to the state championship and we beat everybody in the then-Australian Cup, only to lose to West Adelaide in the latter stages,” he said.

While he has no desire for a return to coaching in the VPL, Ollerton said he would enjoy a role as a specialist coach at an A-League club. “I’d like to be able to go to the Victory or Heart – something like that – and be used as a technical striking coach,” he said. ‘I’d enjoy that.”

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Brothers sign on (Leader Newspaper – News Ltd)



NICK Kalmar and Rodrigo Vargas are oft-cited examples of VPL-groomed players established in the A-League.

Their seamless transition from state league football to Australian club soccer’s highest echelons has now inspired Glen and Jason Trifiro to make Victoria’s top-flight their next destination.

The brothers, both Australian representatives at youth level, recently signed with last season’s unexpected finalist Northcote City, and admitted the chance of a step-up to the A-League was a swaying factor behind their decision.

“Everything we do is towards our future,” younger brother Glen said.

“For us, we’re always looking at the future – we always look past our current move and think of where it can potentially lead us.

“With the two A-League franchises in Melbourne, it offers a great opportunity because of the history of players moving from the VPL to the A-League.”

“We’re from Sydney, and everyone there knows us and our game so, for us, this move will give us a fresh start,” the attacking midfielder added.

Glen, 21, who arrives from Perth Glory’s youth team, said he is not intimidated by the at-times uncompromising nature of the VPL.

“I’ve heard the VPL is a bit tough and very physical,” he said. I’m expecting a tough league which will benefit Jason and me.”

“We want to challenge ourselves and a more physical league will help us develop our games.”

Jason is equally enthused about moving south, relishing the prospect of linking up with his brother on the pitch.

“I’m looking forward to playing with my brother,” the holding midfielder said. “I last played with him at Marconi Stallions three years ago; it was an enjoyable experience as we have a lot of understanding.”

City coach Peter Tsolakis hinted he could experiment with the team’s playing formation should the Trifiro brothers meet his expectations when they join the club for pre-season in a few weeks.

“I’ll probably stick to the traditional 4-4-2, where we’ll be hard to break down defensively but I could use a midfield diamond (4-3-1-2 or 4-1-2-1-2) now we’ve got them (Jason and Glen),” he said.

“I’ve seen a lot of footage of them both and I really like what I see.

“They are very skilful and I’ve only had glowing reports about them both.

“If they get protected by the referees then I’m certain they’ll do well here; and if they have skill to burn, then show me!”

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Leader Newspaper (News Ltd) news copy




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Hiddink picks Gulum for Turkey (SBS – The World Game)


13 November 2010-SBS

Australian-born defender Ersan Gulum was named in Turkey’s 24-man squad for next week’s international friendly against World Cup runner-up Netherlands.

As reported on The World Game earlier this week, the Besiktas centre-back met with officials from the Turkish Football Federation to discuss a future with the Cresent Stars, who are currently coached by ex-Socceroos boss Guus Hiddink.

In a written statement released by his Australian respresentatives, Gulum admitted that the call-up was just the start of a new path in his career.

“I must stress that I am only at the start of the road. Playing six games for one of the biggest clubs in Turkey, is just the beginning of a dream that was handed to me,” he said.

“I want this dream to last for a few years to come and I understand it requires a lot of hard work.

“I have and always and will have a close allegiance with Australia. I love the country. Through my management, Football Australia has been notified of my ongoing progress.”

The 23-year-old, who played twice for the Olyroos, explained his decision and hopes Australian fans would understand why he elected to embark on an international career with Turkey.

The dual-citizen, on separate occasions, had stated a wish to represent Australia at senior level but a succession of snubs from previous Socceroos coaches ensured the country of his heritage won out in the race for his services.

“Disappointingly, until last week, I have not heard from the Australian authorities for the past two and a half years, while the Turkish national team has been watching me closely… (And also), they have been constantly contacting me and the people around me,” Gulum explained.

“For me it has been a case of being overlooked at all levels in the past for Australia, for whatever the reason has been.

“Especially with (the) Olyroos, when I was told I will not get picked to represent Australia because I play overseas and not (in) the A-League.

“I have been patiently waiting for some form of recognition. The first bit of contact came last week after the Turkish National Team had called me for a possible call up.

“I respect newly-appointed national team coach Holger Osieck’s decision to overlook me for the upcoming friendly against Egypt, as he has no idea of who I am and has never watched me play live.

“My frustration lay with the previous coaches who showed me no interest, when a decision would have been much easier for me to make.”

Gulum has faced media and supporter backlash in Turkey this week for his indecision, with an influential sports publication likening his flirtation with the Australian national team to Real Madrid superstar Mesut Ozil’s decision to play for Germany.

“My family heritage is of Turkish descent and I am as Turkish as I am Australian. I walk the streets of Istanbul feeling right at home as I did in the back streets of Meadow Heights. It is the birthplace of my parents, who also currently live in Turkey,” he added.

“People would have differing views about my decision to play for Turkey and I can assure everyone that it wasn’t an easy one.

“Now that a decision has been made all I want to do is concentrate on my own football firstly at club level, and if I am lucky enough to get the chance, at national level.

“I want to help my team win the Turkish Super Lig and go as far as we can in the Europa League.

“I have to fulfill the faith my coach Bernd Schuster and the Besiktas Board has shown in me and ensure I secure a long term deal with the club as well as represent Turkey in a new era of Turkish Football under coach Guus Hiddink.

“I hope all concerned will respect me for the decision that I have had to make, based on my current position in Turkey.”

Turkey squad for international against Netherlands:

Goalkeepers: Volkan Demirel (Fenerbahce), Onur Recep Kıvrak (Trabzonspor), Ufuk Ceylan (Galatasaray)

Defenders: Gokhan Gonul (Fenerbahce), Sabri Sarıoglu, Servet Cetin (Galatasaray), Serdar Kesimal (Kayserispor), İbrahim Ozturk (Bursaspor), Ersan Adem Gulum, Ismail Koybasi (Besiktas), Gokhan Suzen (Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyespor)

Midfielders: Hamit Altıntop (Bayern Munich), Yekta Kurtulus (Kasımpasa), Selcuk Inan (Trabzonspor), Yigit Incedemir (Manisaspor), Orhan Gulle (Gaziantepspor), Nuri Sahin (Borussia Dortmund), Mehmet Ekici (Nurnberg), Ibrahim Akın (Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyespor), Engin Baytar (Trabzonspor)

Forwards: Batuhan Karadeniz (Eskisehirspor), Burak Yilmaz (Trabzonspor), Umut Bulut (Trabzonspor), Kazım Kazım (Fenerbahce)

Turkey plays Netherlands on November 17 (November 18 AEDT) at Amsterdam ArenA.


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Perfect timing for Danning (SBS – The World Game)


13 August 2010-SBS: Daniel Phan

Sydney FC attacker Kofi Danning is looking to cast aside his injury frustration of last season when he lines-up against North Queensland Fury on Saturday.

Danning showed great promise last season before he was untimely struck down by a knee injury, forcing him to watch on as Sydney went on to claim the second A-League title in its history.

It was against Fury in round one last season when he scored one of the league’s most explosive goals in 2009.

“I’m feeling very good,” Danning told The World Game. “I’m very confident. I’ve been working on a lot of things in training just to return to the level where I was at last year.

“At training I just try to focus on my strengths and try work on that: my speed, the off-the-ball movements that I make and how I take on defenders one-on-one.

“If I can do that and I can come on the last 20 minutes and make a difference then I’d be happy.”

“All my team mates and the coach have been encouraging me to try some news things and to see if they work.”

The 19-year-old, expected to start alongside Alex Brosque this weekend in place of injured Mark Bridge, is keen to redeem himself following a year-long absence from the domestic competition.

“It was very frustrated that I couldn’t be playing because there were a lot of opportunities at the end of the year because of the injuries that happened within the squad,” he explained.

“I felt frustrated but I just worked on my rehab, focused on getting my knee strong again and regaining my confidence. And I know if I can do that then I’ll return to my best.”

Danning, who can operate as a dedicated striker or wide attacking midfielder, admitted his time spent on the sidelines shored up his mental resilience which, in effect, has turned him into a more complete footballer.

The time away from the pitch also offered him the chance to improve his football smarts, by watching endless amounts of footage of his own performances and others.

“Psychologically, I think I’m stronger,” he said. “I see the game a lot differently now because I had a long time away from football.

“I’ve watched a lot more games, which allowed me to see what I did and didn’t do and I think it’s made me a lot smarter as a footballer. And everyday I’m trying to improve on my mental strength and become a smarter player.”

He is aware Holger Osieck’s appointment as Australia boss could open doors for him in the future; with the Ghana-born striker admitting a potential call-up to the senior Australia team would rate as his greatest achievement to date.

“I’ve always set a goal to play at the highest level and obviously the Socceroos is the highest level,” Danning said.

He won a late battle to represent Australia in last year’s under-20 World Cup in Egypt, where he played with now overseas-based James Holland and Tommy Oar. And he is adamant he can pave his own path into the Socceroos.

“I guess, looking at the younger players who’ve been capped and who I’ve been team-mates, with like James Holland, Tommy Oar – fantastic players; if they can get a cap, then I don’t see why I can’t.

“I just need to keep working hard and hopefully I’ll achieve that goal.

“But at the moment, I just want to get some games under my belt and try to get back to where I was last year.

He went on to sprinkle praise on coach Vitezslav Lavicka for imparting his tactical astuteness on the club’s players.

“We just respect everything he says and does and we all know that if we listen to him we can get better as players,” Danning said.

“In terms of tactics, what he teaches makes a big difference, and the longer I spend with him the more tactical knowledge I’ll gain and the better player I’ll become.”

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Gulum on the radar (SBS – The World Game)


8 November 2010-Daniel Phan

Australia could miss out on the services of emerging defensive talent Ersan Gulum should Socceroos manager Holger Osieck overlook the 23-year-old for the international against Egypt.

The World Game can reveal the Turkish Football Federation is set to hold talks on Tuesday with the Besiktas centre-back about him representing his parents’ birth nation.

Turkey national team assistant Oguz Cetin contacted Gulum on Saturday night about the clash with World Cup runner-up Netherlands, which falls on the same date as Australia’s match with Egypt.

It is believed Turkey coach Guus Hiddink sounded out Besiktas trainer Bernd Schuster about having Gulum ready for international duty.

But, despite such developments, Gulum – who played twice for the Olyroos – could yet still represent Australia at senior level.

The versatile defender, who can also play at left-back, has held his place in Besiktas’ first XI, starting in the previous three outings – in the domestic cup competition, league and Europa League respectively – has made no secret of his desire to pull on the green and gold.

“I think I’ve reached that level in my football career at the moment where I’m good enough to play for Australia,” Gulum recently told The World Game.

“All I can do is get game time at Besiktas, which I’ve started to do now.

“There’s not one bone in my body that has a doubt that I want to play for any other country but Australia,” he added.

Gulum arrived at Besiktas on a one-year loan deal from second division side Adanaspor in the northern summer, after initially being linked with Istanbul giant Galatasaray.

He is expected to start in Besiktas’ match against basement side Kasimpasa on Monday tonight (Tuesday morning AEDT).


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A-League interest for Emerton (SBS – The World Game)


30 July 2010-SBS: Daniel Phan

Brett Emerton could be the next Australia international to return home to the A-League – a move that should bolster the competition’s playing stocks and commercial pulling power.

Emerton gave his biggest hint yet that a return to Australia to play in the domestic top flight was imminent, admitting he found the prospect of a return home as “something which excites me and it’s something which I will look forward to”.

“It’s something I’ve always said I would like to do – finish my career here in Australia so hopefully that draws nearer,” Emerton told The World Game.

“I think the standard (of the A-League) is improving each year.

“Obviously being so far away I don’t get to see a lot but I see the highlights and do keep an eye on it because I like to see how the Australian league is doing.

“It’s good to see it doing well and who knows – hopefully I’ll come back one day once my career is finished in Europe and finish my career here in Australia in the A-League.”

Emerton, 31, who has been a regular fixture in the Australian squad for over a decade believes the Socceroos’ World Cup campaign in South Africa was a success, despite the team’s inability to replicate its feat from Germany 2006.

“It’s mixed emotions. After the Germany game I thought the boys did exceptionally well to pick themselves up and put in two very good performances against Ghana and Serbia.

“Although we didn’t qualify for the second round as we would’ve hoped, I think we can walk away with our heads held high.

“Apart from the one bad performance I thought the boys did well.

Emerton admitted media scrutiny and criticism levelled at several of the squad’s players was a motivating factor for the team’s much-improved performances following the 4-0 capitulation against Germany in Australia’s opening game.

“Obviously the boys were a little disappointed (at the criticism) because a lot of the guys in this team have been involved in the national setup for quite some time,” he said.

“I think they have done a lot for football in this country, so to receive such harsh criticism over one bad badly performance was a little bit disappointing.

“However, we used that to our advantage and obviously went out and showed in the next two games that we still are a good football team.”

Given the disappointment of South Africa, Australia’s national team will be looking to redeem itself in next year’s Asian Cup in Qatar.

And Emerton thinks the continental showpiece could provide the Socceroos with their first taste of football silverware since an Oceania Football Confederation Nations Cup title in 2004.

“The upcoming Asian Cup gives us an opportunity to, as a team, go and have a realistic chance of winning the trophy,” Emerton said.

“That’s something that all the boys are eyeing up and obviously when the time comes, they’ll have to take many things in consideration – with their clubs and what situation each and every player’s in.

“Hopefully we’ll put a strong team out and hopefully we can win it.”

The Asian Cup, which kicks off in January, could be an opportune moment for the green and gold to regenerate its squad with younger and less-experiences faces. But that could all depend on who takes charge of the coaching reins.

“It’s going to be an interesting next six to 12 months for the Socceroos,” Emerton said.

“Hopefully we’ll have a few young players joining the squad and a few of us older players can show them the ropes.

“It’s an interesting time coming up and there’s going to be many changes. I’m looking forward to it.”

Emerton was recently the subject of transfer reports linking him to Galatasaray, although such speculation was quashed by his club manager Sam Allardyce during the visit to Australia for the four-team Sydney Festival of Football.

Blackburn concludes its Aussie sojourn with a hit-out against Sydney FC on Saturday night after losses to Rangers and AEK.

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Gulum realises Besiktas dream (SBS – The World Game)


21 July 2010-SBS: Daniel Phan

Besiktas secured the loan services of Australian-born stopper Ersan Gulum, with the option of signing the player permanently from second division side Adanaspor at the end of the 2010-2011 season.

Speaking to The World Game moments before his introduction to the club’s staff and playing group, Gulum said he was confident Besiktas would retain him beyond the 12-month loan period.

“Besiktas don’t have a left-sided stopper. They are rare in Turkey. I’m very fortunate because there’s very few playing in the left-sided position with a left-foot,” Gulum, who will wear the No.2 jersey for his new team, said.

“I’ve got no doubt that I will get that chance to show myself, put that jersey on and prove to everyone that I am that player they expect.

“A door has opened up for me and I have to take this opportunity. These opportunities don’t come around often.

“I just turned 23, got signed by my childhood team but I can’t get head over heels about it. I’ve got to stay calm and cool and work my ass off.”

The step up to the Turkish Superlig has meant the former Hume City star will get the chance to face-off against some of his idols.

“I grew up watching players like Harry (Kewell) and Lucas (Neill) and now playing in the same league and same level as them is a big deal for me.

Gulum, who has dual nationality, admits he is working towards a call-up to the Turkey national team, who will be under former Socceroos boss Guus Hiddink’s reign, come 1 August.

“I have arrived at a big club like Besiktas and I have high opportunities to play for the Turkish national team,” Gulum said.

“I’ve already met with a few of its players, and people in the Turkish Football Federation are telling me ‘you keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll be playing in the Turkish national team in a few months’ time.

“That’s a big step because it means I’ll also get to play (in the) Euros.

“I know there are big names that play in the Turkish national team in my position but that was only an issue when I was playing at Adanaspor in the second division.

“Now I’m at Besiktas.”

Though, he has not ruled out the possibility of turning out for his country of birth.

Gulum has not appeared in Australian colours since an Olyroos camp in 2007, and is upset about Football Federation Australia’s indifferent attitude towards his achievements of the last 24 months.

“No one (from FFA) has bothered to contact me since I left the Olyroos. That’s the honest truth. I’m disappointed,” Gulum said.

“I’m not ruling out the Australian national team at all. It’s just who calls me up first, to be honest.”

“If Australia called me to the national team, just for a cap or something, then I’d be more than willing.”

Gulum will stay in Istanbul to begin training with his new club Wednesday, while his team-mates fly out to Faroe Islands to face Vikingur Gota in the Europa League’s qualifying stages.

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Risk pays off for Burn (SBS – The World Game)


28 July 2010-SBS: Daniel Phan

AEK Athens midfielder Nathan Burns believes his spell on loan at Kerkyra, in addition to AEK’s rigorous pre-season campaign, could put him in line for a return to the Socceroos.

“I hope I get my club career right this season, get some game time, play for AEK, score some goals and then the Socceroos will come, hopefully,” the former Adelaide United player told The World Game in Sydney on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old looked sharp in his 30 minute cameo for AEK last Sunday in the 5-3 win over Sydney FC in the opening match of the four-team Festival of Football.

After nine goal in 30 games last season in Greece’s second tier for promoted Kerkyra, Burns has put himself right in the frame for a regular spot in AEK’s first team.

“All I have to do is crack the first-team now, score some goals, have a good season. I have one more year on my contract left after this year so if it goes to plan, it will all work out perfect,” he said.

With the Australia national team without a coach after Pim Verbeek’s departure post World Cup, Burns is just focussing on what is in his control.

“For now, they haven’t even picked a coach so well wait and see what happens,” he said. “Obviously football is all about coaches opinions.

“Maybe they will sign a coach who likes me or loves me you don’t know. Or maybe he doesn’t even rate me at all.” Burns is adamant he took the correct decision last season in seeking a loan move from AEK in his second season after a lack of first-team opportunities.

“As a foreign player, it’s not easy to go on loan. I took the chance, the risk to go to the second division, which I copped a bit of criticism for. But overall I think it worked out good for my career,” he explained.

“Most importantly I got respect from the Greeks, which was probably the main part of the whole loan deal.”

Though admitting there was little interaction between him and AEK coach Dusan Bajevic, Burns is confident he figures in his plans for the upcoming season, given his versatility on the park.

“I haven’t really spoken to him one-on-one but you can kind of get the vibe from training if he has you in his plans,” Burns added.

“Obviously it’s tough to crack the starting line-up because we have great players but I think I’m in his plans and I will get game time over the next couple of games.

“I think the coach sees me as the player who can play several positions: I can play left, right and I think that in this tournament he might even play me up front.

“It’s good that I can play these different positions because it gives me the opportunity to play several positions. If someone gets injured it’s a good chance to play.”

AEK faces EPL side Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday evening before finishing up its Australian tour against Scottish champion Rangers on Saturday, with Burns keen to see more such tournaments arranged down under.

And later this year Burns could be in the reckoning for European football, with AEK qualified for the 2010-2011 Europa League play-offs.

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Watson covers for Barbiero (SBS – The World Game)


27 July 2010-SBS: Daniel Phan

One-time VVV-Venlo and Porto midfielder Cameron Watson is headed for Adelaide United from Victorian Premier League side Oakleigh Cannons on a short-term contract, with the view to a permanent stay.

The 23-year-old, whose experience abroad includes stints with Porto’s youth set-up and Dutch club Venlo, is keen to make the most of his opportunity with the Reds during his six-week deal as an injury replacement for midfielder Fabian Barbiero, who is recovering from an ankle problem.

“I’m really grateful for the opportunity,” Watson told The World Game at Melbourne Airport.

“I know that it’s unfortunate for someone else but I guess I just got to grab the opportunity with both hands.”

The AIS graduate and ex youth international has been an impressive performer in the VPL and courted interest from A-League clubs in recent seasons, although trials with Melbourne Victory, Sydney FC and Melbourne Heart have so far proved fruitless.

Watson’s career has been frustratingly punctuated by injury, although he is confident of launching his career with Adelaide under the tutelage of Dutchman Rini Coolen.

“Obviously I’ve had a couple of setbacks through injury but they say good things come to people who wait,” Watson said.

And while he played just a handful of Eredivisie games the experience should hold him in good stead.

“I think it’ll become very handy although it was a couple of years ago – but I’ve obviously played at senior level (overseas) before.”

Meanwhile, Bradley Norton, a 19-year-old left-back from Victoria will be on trial with Adelaide during its trip to to Townsville for its final pre-season hit-out against North Queensland Fury on Friday night.

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Ferrer thrilled with Spanish win (AAP)

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(link to images)

By Daniel Phan

MELBOURNE, July 12 AAP – Former Real Madrid junior Michael Ferrer was almost moved to tears as Spain ended decades of heartbreak with victory in the World Cup final.

Twenty-six years after spending the best year of his life training with the Spanish club giants, said Ferrer can now finally boast about the nation of his birth winning soccer’s greatest prize.

“I was absolutely ecstatic and am tremendously proud,” Ferrer, who holds dual Australian and Spanish nationality, told AAP on Monday.

“In my household, there was a lot of screaming and I just about shed a tear.

“I have been a little bit of a frustrated fan but (my frustrations) have been put to bed because Spain has finally won the world’s biggest prize.”

Melbourne-based Ferrer is one of 5000 Spaniards residing in Australia.

His 1984 stint with los Blancos’ youth team went largely unreported during a era in which Australian soccer was largely dependent on British training methods.

He trialled with Real as a 16-year-old and spent a year in Spain before homesickness prompted his return to Australia.

Shortly afterwards, Ferrer’s career was struck down by a serious knee injury.

Ferrer said his countrymen, despite revelling in their nation’s recent international success in other major sports, were left frustrated by Spain’s shortcomings in football.

“It’s been a dream come true,” he said.

“We’ve won in everything – the tennis, the basketball, MotoGP and cycling but not in the sport Spaniards love most.

“It’s a great time to be Spanish.’

Spain’s 1-0 win over the Netherlands in Johannesburg also had another significant bearing on Ferrer whose cousin, Ricardo Sanchez Villar, was trained by national team manager Vincente Del Bosque as a junior.

“I stayed with Ricardo during my time with Real Madrid and he, like me, was also hit by injury at an early age,” said Ferrer, who is now a painter by trade.

Ferrer also keenly follows the fortunes of the Socceroos, who were knocked out in the group stages in South Africa.

AAP str/jds

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Besiktas poised to snare Gulum (SBS – The World Game)


19 July 2010-SBS: Daniel Phan

Ex-Olyroos defender Ersan Gulum is on the verge of inking a 12-month loan deal with Turkish heavyweight Besiktas, the player’s manager told The World Game.

The Istanbul club will have the option to sign the stopper permanently should he impress coach Bernd Schuster, who is believed to have promised the player a big role in the first team for the upcoming season.

The 23-year-old is expected to be heading in to camp early next week where he will link-up with team-mates including Ricardo Quaresma, Nihat Kahveci, Rodrigo Tabata and Ibrahim Toraman.

Gulum has been a revelation since moving to second-tier side Adanaspor in 2008, earning plaudits from the media and fans of the coastal club alike.

The former Australian schoolboy representative, who was routinely snubbed by recently-departed Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek and is yet to win his first senior cap for Australia, was a speculated target for Galatasaray, with the club having reportedly offered $1.2 million.

Besiktas is also close to securing Real Madrid playmaker, Guti.

The Spaniard has been eager to depart his childhood club following the Jose Mourinho’s appointment, with the Portuguese coach reportedly telling reporters that the midfielder has no place in his plans.

Having finished a disappointing fourth last season, the Black Eagles will be looking to reclaim the Superlig title and secure UEFA Champions League football, thus explaining its active dealings in the transfer window.

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