Sunday, November 06, 2005

World Club Championship waits on African result

One of Australia's new A-League clubs, Sydney FC, makes its Asian debut this coming December representing the Oceania Football Confederation at the FIFA World Club Championships in Japan. Less then 18-months old, the young club faces CONCACAF champions Deportivo Saprissa (Costa Rica) in the first round on 11 December with the winner set to face English giant and current UEFA Champions League holder, Liverpool FC, in the semi final.

South American superpower Sao Paulo from Brazil is the other team that has been seeded through to the semi finals with Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia representing the Asian Football Confederation to meet either Ahly (Egypt) or ESS (Tunisia) representing Africa in the first round. The deciding second leg of the African Champions League will be played on 12 November.

Sydney FC has confirmed that Japanese great Kazuyoshi Miura has joined the club. The former international will play four A-League games in Australia then continue with the club to the CWC in Japan as part of his two-month stint. The Courier Mail (4 November) reported that Sydney FC, Miura and Japanese club Yokohama had earlier agreed to the deal but had to wait for Football Federation Australia's stamp of approval.

"Sydney FC is preparing to start the Australian venture into Asia with the Club World Championships and ... Certainly having Kazu on board for that journey will help Asia, and in particular Japan, identify with Sydney FC and Australian football," Sydney chief executive Tim Parker said. "Asia is the future of Australian football and we're building a bridge just by being over there for the world championships and hopefully this will make us the home town favourites," he said.

The 2005 trophy is sponsored by Toyota.

UPDATE

Egypt's Al Ahly beat Tunisia's Etoile Sahel (ESS) 3-0 in Cairo on 12 November to become the African champion club. They will meet Saudi Arabia's Al Ittihad in the first round of FIFA's World Club Championships.

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