A-League clubs need to support Olyroos for our mutual benefit

A lot has been said about the Olyroos playing in Oman, so I figured I may as well throw in my bit.

A lot has been said about the Olyroos playing in Oman, so I figured I may as well throw in my bit.

I support the decision to take a squad of mainly A-League players to the tournament, despite the disruption it's caused at an important stage of the season.

The debate is not so much about the team, of course, but the timing. Apparently - according to some - the tournament is disadvantaging those clubs who have lost players and, by extension, is diminishing the value of the league itself.

Newcastle Jets and Melbourne Victory have been hardest hit with four players each in the squad, and both coaches bemoaned the loss of young talent after they played out an innocuous draw recently. It even prompted James Troisi to describe the under-22 tournament in Oman as a waste of time.

If memory serves me correctly, Troisi would have jumped at the chance to showcase himself among some of Asia-s elite just a few short years ago. A range of other notable pundits have also said as much, and in some ways they have a point - the fact is this is not a FIFA tournament so theoretically nothing is at stake. In other words, why bother?

So we have yet another Club versus Country debate, something that's been going on for years. I don-t believe there will ever be agreement on the subject. But for me the country must take priority, especially here in Australia.

Has it affected the league? Obviously the loss of any player affects the league to some degree. Injuries and suspensions also affect a club, but these can be written off as 'natural' events.

If you look at the recent performances of the Victory and the Jets, there is a good case to argue that they have taken a hit because of the absentees. And I-m sure if they don-t make finals this season, this period might become one of the reasons when the inevitable questions - or maybe “excuses” - are produced.

From the two clubs' perspective, four players are a lot to lose when you have a squad of only 23 and you still have to deal with injury and suspensions. Sure you can draw on the youth team, but it is still a big ask...just as it is a big ask from the hierarchy to expect the clubs to stay silent and cop it on the jaw. They have every right to complain.

And I have some sympathy. Four players from one club is too many. It should be capped or restricted at two, more so in this case because of the nature of the tournament.

There is also the possibility of postponements. But that would cause untold chaos with the programming and broadcasting that is so crucial to the development of the game here. So the cap becomes the best possible compromise.

From a coaching perspective, Aurelio Vidmar, who should consider himself exceptionally fortunate to still have the job after the last Olympic campaign, must have a very good idea of his players' potential by now. There is still enough time to look at them before the real qualifying begins next year, but in the meantime this is the chance for 'Viddie' to look at the ones he-s maybe not so sure about because there is nothing at stake.

As I mentioned, the last campaign was an abject failure - six games and not one goal scored and I must say, I was perplexed by some of the selections at the time. I remember thinking there seemed to be some favouritism shown in some areas but that-s another story.

The fact is we need to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. They are second only to the World Cup on the international stage, and carry a lot of cachet within the Australian sporting community. Also, and this is crucial, Olympic qualifying and performance is tied to funding so if we don-t make it the money has to come from somewhere else. And finances are at a premium in the game.

Despite the success of the A-League and the Socceroos we are still somewhat of a poor relation when it comes to the football codes in this country. So we need to be as successful as we can at international level as often as possible.

The governing body needs to give the clubs a little empathy and the clubs need to look at the bigger picture. That might mean a little heartache along the way, but that is just how it is.