Melbourne Victory’s Asian Champion League squad has been revealed on the Asian Football Confedration website, with the main news being Gui Finkler has been the unlucky one to miss out on selection.
Coach Kevin Muscat has opted for Kosta Barbarouses as the final international player in the squad, joining Pablo Contreras and Adama Traore as the other two. According to official AFC guidelines, “clubs are permitted to register three (3) non-citizens or foreign players” but can also add one more “non-citizen or foreign player who has the nationality of one of Asian Member Associations.”
The door is open to add an Asian player, so it will be interesting to see whether Muscat fills it if, of course, his side does win its qualifier. While Barbarouses does add that extra wide player to the squad, he can also play in that creative midfielder spot. That versatility may have been the deciding factor.
The move also gives Andrew Nabbout and Connor Pain to be eased into ACL football (should Victory win); they will likely be in off the bench roles. Youth players that have featured sporadically have also been named in the twenty-five man squad.
Victory will need to win their playoff to progress to the tournament against either Thailand side Muangthong United or the Vietnamese outfit Hanoi T&T at Geelong’s Kardinia Park on Saturday February 15th. It is a clear opportunity for Victory to establish themselves as a “big” club not just in Australia, but also in Asia overall. The club does have a poor record in Asia and they get the chance to change that.
Full squad: Nathan Coe (GK), Lawrence Thomas (GK), Keegan Coulter (GK), Pablo Contreras, Adama Traore, Nick Ansell, Adrian Leijer, Scott Galloway, Jason Geria, Dylan Murnane, Milos Ridesic, Mark Milligan ©, Leigh Broxham, James Troisi, Rashid Mahazi, James Jeggo, Francesco Stella, Tomas Rogic, Jesse Makarounas, Jordan Brown, Kosta Barbarouses, Archie Thompson, Connor Pain, Andrew Nabbout, Chris Cristaldo.