Home老域名 › Jets midfielder Chloe Logarzo makes Matildas cut

Jets midfielder Chloe Logarzo makes Matildas cut

Chloe Logarzo

JETS midfielder Chloe Logarzo and former Newcastle captain Emily van Egmond have been named in the Matildas squad for Rio Olympic Games qualifiers in Osaka, Japan from February 29 to March 9.

Logarzo, 21, came to the Jets for the last W-League season from Sydney FC in a bid to get more game time and break back intointo the Australian squad.

She did just that after a foot injury to star forward Sam Kerr gave her the opportunity for a game against South Korea in November.

Logarzo kept her place in the programthrough more games andtraining camps and was picked in the 20-player squad for the qualifiers on Wednesday.

Jets teammates Tara Andrews and Georgia Yeoman-Dale were part of the Matildas build up from the start of the W-League season but missed out on a spot on Wednesday.

Teenage Jets goalkeeper Hannah Southwell was part of the final training squad but she was also omitted.

Van Egmond, who is playing with FFC Frankfurt, is a key member of the national squad and will add to her 47 caps.

TheAustralian squad leaves on Monday andwillattemptto feature in the Olympic Games for the first time since 2004.

Comprising the compulsory 17 outfield players and three goalkeepers, the squad will head to Osaka on Monday morning for what Stajcic has aptly dubbed a ‘mini World Cup’ where the Matildas will play five matches in 10 days with the top two nations at the end of the round robin-format booking a place at Rio 2016.

Co-captain Lisa De Vanna is the only player in the squad who has competed at an Olympic Games, while Caitlin Cooper, Emily Gielnik, Chloe Logarzo, Aivi Luik and goalkeeper Casey Dumont have been selected inthis squad afternot being part of the Matildas’ outfit that reached the quarter-finals of last year’s World Cup.

“Emily Gielnik had a good W-League season and has been impressive when she has come into camp adding a good bit of pace and power to our front line,” said Stajcic.

“Caitlin Cooper is another who has come into the squad and performed really well in our preparations, while Casey Dumont has come back from her knee reconstruction. She’s still got a bit of a way to go to regain full fitness but she has certainly worked hard over the past three months to get back into the squad.”

To give the Westfield Matildas the best chance of qualifying, Stajcic knows the importance of having a squad in peak physical condition given the gruelling schedule of matches they will face in Osaka.

“Our physical preparation needs to be at a high level and our players need to be capable of backing up every second day,” said Stajcic.

“It is the same for every team competing so we need a squad full of fit players and players who can carry a high workload. By game four or five it will be a war of attrition and come down to a bit of luck with injuries, but certainly the teams that are more resilient will give themselves a better chance to qualify.

“The players are building a resilience and a tolerance to the workload that we have given them in training, they are improving week to week and I’m sure it will hold us in good stead come the tournament.”

German-based duo Elise Kellond-Knight and Egmond will join up with the squad in Osaka after their clubs in the Women’s Bundesliga play their first matches of the season this weekend.

“They are tracking well and working hard over there, and with the high level of Germany’s fitness and training regime I’m confident they’ll come into the squad fit and ready to go,” Stajcic said.

Stajcic has used a number of training camps and the recent Westfield W-League season to monitor players in the lead up the qualifying tournament and admits it made the task of narrowing a list down to 20 a tough task.

“It was very difficult. It’s the first time we’ve had a major tournament in this time of the year so it added a lot of complexity to preparing and selecting the team,” said Stajcic.

“Having the W-League in between and still trying to manage the national team was a pretty big balancing act and I think credit should go to the players and the W-League clubs as well, we did a pretty good job navigating our way to not interfere too much but still being able to keep up the momentum of the national team.”

The only player Stajcic will not have at his disposal who has been an integral part of the current Matildas set-up is Kerr.

“We’ve been monitoring Sam’s recovery and she’s only been out of the moon boot for a couple of weeks so it was always going to be touch and go, but with the short turnaround between matches it was not worth taking the risk. Hopefully we qualify and she can put her hand up and be available for selection for Rio.”

The Westfield Matildas have not featured in the Olympics since 2004, the fact the Asian Football Confederation only receives two spots of the 12 making the task all the more difficult.

But Stajcic is buoyant about his team’s chances of qualifying and having drawn on the inspiration of some of Australia’s great past Olympic athletes as motivation in the lead up, he believes the Matildas can get the job done.

“It’s a massive challenge but at the same time it is really exciting and a great thrill,” said Stajcic.

“We’ve had some Olympians from different sports come and talk to the group and it certainly raises the hair on the back of your neck thinking about the reward at the end of the rainbow if we can get there.

“To make it to the Olympics would be a massive prize and massive boost for the team and the code. We know what’s at stake and the players and the staff are definitely working hard to get there.”

Clare Polkinghorne and De Vanna will again share the captaincy as they did at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada last year.

The Matildas’ first match of the qualifiers is a blockbuster against World Cup 2015 finalists Japan on February 29. They then play Vietnam on March 2, South Korea on March 4, North Korea on March 7 and China on March 9.

The Matildas qualifiers will be shownliveon 7mate.

The squad is:Lydia Williams (gk),Larissa Crummer,Caitlin Cooper,Clare Polkinghorne,Laura Alleway,Chloe Logarzo,Stephanie Catley,Elise Kellond-Knight,Caitlin Foord,Emily van Egmond,Lisa De Vanna,Casey Dumont (gk),Tameka Butt,Alanna Kennedy,Emily Gielnik,Michelle Heyman,Kyah Simon,Mackenzie Arnold (gk),Katrina Gorry,Aivi Luik.

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