SYDNEY (dpa) – Tim Cahill has travelled the world to play for Australia but the Socceroo’s all-time top scorer is relishing the chance to face Oman in his home city Sydney in the Asian Cup on Tuesday.
“I think it’s amazing (to play at home in Sydney),” Cahill told a news conference Monday. “I love playing for Australia regardless of which country I’m in but to play at home in front of my hometown fans, and obviously my family and friends, it is very special.”
Australia rarely play non-competitive matches on their own shores due to the huge distances visiting teams must travel. In 2014, the side played only once in their home country.
But roared on by their own fans in Melbourne, Cahill and Australia made the perfect start to the Asian Cup on Friday with a 4-1 victory over Kuwait. Depending on the result of South Korea v Kuwait elsewhere Tuesday, a place in the quarter-finals could be secured with a match to spare.
“We just want to do our country proud and do really well,” Cahill said. “We worked really hard to get to this stage but overall our mindset has just been concentrating on each game as it comes.”
A veteran of 77 internationals and scorer of 37 goals, the 35-year-old Cahill will captain the team against Oman in the absence of regular skipper Mile Jedinak through injury.
“Like always, I don’t really want to put too much emphasis on it,” he said. “Mile is our captain and obviously me and Bresc (Mark Bresciano) help lead the side both on and off the park.
“It’s a massive, massive honour and something that’s great to have in my career.”
Cahill said the Asian Cup was a “massive trophy” but while it would be the crowning achievement of his career, he insisted that his immediate focus was on Oman.