Garcia names squad for AFC Champions League

Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia has today named the squad which will travel to Qatar to resume its 2020 AFC Champions League campaign.

22 players have been included in the group which will be based in Doha as Glory completes its Group F fixtures against Shanghai Shenhua, FC Tokyo and Ulsan Hyundai and seeks to progress to the knockout stages of Asia’s premier club competition.

Five members of the squad – Nicholas Walsh, Mason Tatafu, Joshua Rawlins, Giordano Colli and Bryce Bafford – have been promoted from the PGFC Academy First Team coached by Garcia last season, while former Glory youth players Luke Bodnar and Daniel Stynes have returned to the fold following successful stints in the NPL WA.

20-year-old Bayswater City midfielder Declan Hughes has been included after impressing during a trial period with the club and he is joined by recent signings Brandon Wilson, Jonathan Aspropotamitis, Nick Sullivan and Tando Velaphi.

Diego Castro and Bruno Fornaroli are among the forwards set to make the trip, along with fellow-A-League regulars Liam Reddy, Neil Kilkenny and Osama Malik, while new defensive recruit Darryl Lachman will fly directly from his native Netherlands to join the group in Doha.

Late decisions were made regarding both Nick D’Agostino and Alex Grant, with the former being passed fit to travel, but the latter missing out due to a calf injury.

Andy Keogh will also not feature as he is still classified as an overseas player under AFC regulations and the club’s allocated three foreigner spots had already been filled.

Garcia believes that the Champions League provides an exciting challenge for his squad and a tremendous opportunity for a number of young WA players to prove themselves at senior level.

"We’ve seen these players develop through the Academy," he said, "and they deserve this opportunity.

"It will be a huge test for them against the best that Asia has to offer and I am confident that they will adapt and rise to the challenge.

"Providing young WA players with opportunities to play for Glory is part of the club’s ambitions and I’m sure our Members and fans are as excited as we are to see how they perform."

In terms of the coaching personnel, meanwhile, former Football West Technical Director Cris Ola will join the travelling party in keeping with AFC regulations which stipulate that every club’s staff must include a Pro-Licence-holding coach.

And Garcia was quick to thank Ola for agreeing to come on board.

"I was due to complete my Pro-Licence this year,” he explained, "but unfortunately COVID-19 prevented me from doing that.

"I'm therefore very grateful to Chris for coming in and appreciate all the help that he has already provided."

The travelling party will depart Perth on Saturday 14 November ahead of the club’s opening game against Shanghai Shenhua at Education City Stadium, Al-Rayyan on Wednesday 18 November.

All of Glory’s AFC Champions League games will be screened live on Fox Sports.

Perth Glory AFC Champions League Squad

Liam REDDY, Tando VELAPHI, Cameron COOK, Nicholas WALSH, Luke BODNAR, Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, Darryl LACHMAN, Mason TATAFU, Joshua RAWLINS, Brandon WILSON, Dane INGHAM, Carlo ARMIENTO, Osama MALIK, Declan HUGHES, Neil KILKENNY, Nick SULLIVAN, Daniel STYNES, Diego CASTRO, Bruno FORNAROLI, Giordano COLLI, Bryce BAFFORD, Nick D'AGOSTINO


Perth Glory’s AFC Champions League 2020 Group F Fixtures

Wednesday 18 November (6pm WST) v Shanghai Shenhua at Education City Stadium, Al-Rayyan
Tuesday 24 November (9pm WST) v Ulsan Hyundai at Education City Stadium, Al-Rayyan
Friday 27 November (6pm WST) v Ulsan Hyundai at Education City Stadium, Al-Rayyan
Monday 30 November (9pm WST) v Shanghai Shenhua at Education City Stadium, Al-Rayyan
Thursday 3 December (6pm WST) v FC Tokyo at Education City Stadium, Al-Rayyan


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