A handful of A-League coaches will cast an eye over Indonesian players when they take on Australia at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday.
North Queensland Fury’s Ian Ferguson, Newcastle Jets’ Branko Culina, Gold Coast United’s Miron Bleiberg and Brisbane Roar’s Ange Postecoglou will monitor certain players in the Asian Cup qualifier whilst new Central Coast Mariners coach Graham Arnold will get an advantage as he will be sitting on the bench as Australia’s assistant coach.
Bleiberg said it was about time the A-League tried to get Asian players to come the opposite way as Australians continue to try their luck abroad and said it would be even better if Football Federation Australia said yes to the 5+1 rule which would allow one Asian player along with five other internationals on a playing list.
''If they bring in that rule, it will be a big help,'' said Bleiberg. ''It's about time we counter-attacked the Asian invasion. If we get an import spot for Asian players, then that's definitely going to make it easier for us to sign them, and that's going help improve our league.''
Postecoglou said: ''It's an untapped market, and I'm very interested to see what they've got. The good thing is they [Indonesia] will be playing against basically an A-League [Socceroos] side, so we'll get a good benchmark to compare. It also helps that we can afford their wages.''
And Fury boss Ferguson said it was important to identify if an international player was actually better than what was in the backyard and in North Queensland’s case, acclimatising to warm conditions is also a must.
''Like any import, you've got to make sure the player is better than what you've got. But acclimatisation is definitely something we'll be considering when we look to strengthen the squad,” Ferguson said.