Buijs misses Sydney’s ACL squad
FOOTBALL: After one of the "toughest decisions" he has had to make as a coach, Sydney FC boss Graham Arnold has sidelined Dutch defender Jordy Buijs from his Asian Champions League squad.
With only three non-Asian foreign players permitted in the ACL contingent, Milos Ninkovic, Adrian Mierzejewski and Bobo have got the nod from Arnold for a campaign that starts next week at home to Korean outfit Suwon Bluewings.
Winger Fabio Ferreria misses out as well, despite recently gaining Australian citizenship, as AFC rules insist a player must have been naturalised for a year before the registration deadline.
The decision as to which of Sydney's imports would be omitted has been a hugely delicate one, with Arnold waiting until 24 hours before the final deadline to make the cut.
Biuj's omission adds another layer of complexity to ongoing contract negotiations with the defender, with the club keen to retain him for next season and beyond.
"All four of our overseas signings have been outstanding for us this season and all four deserve to be playing in the tournament," Arnold said.
"Making this decision has been one of the hardest things I've had to do as a coach and it is one of the toughest selections I will ever have to make.
"Jordy is a fantastic player for our club and has been central to our A-League and FFA Cup successes over the last year.
"He has a huge part to play in ensuring we continue our domestic dominance and retain our Premiers Plate and Champions trophies."
Biujs himself said he was "still determined to perform in the A-League" in a club-issued statement, though he made no reference to staying long term.
"I understand how tough this decision is," he said. "I am disappointed, because I had a big drive to play in the Champions League. I am still fully committed to my team mates and I want to help them continue our success this season.
"We have a fantastic squad who will perform to their best in Asia and I will be fully behind them.
"I am still determined to perform in the A-League and win a second Premiers Plate and Championship for my club, my teammates and most importantly my fans."
The 26-strong squad includes six youth team players, and will take on Chinese giants Shanghai Shenhua and Japanese side Kashima Antlers as well as Suwon.
"I believe we have an excellent squad, a good draw and a great chance of success in the competition," said Arnold.
"Our aim is to go further than we have before and to produce even greater results. It is going to be an exciting journey for the club and one we are looking forward to."
FULL SYDNEY ACL SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Redmayne, Cisack, Heward-Belle
Defenders: Calver, Warland, Wilkinson, Zullo, Grant, Wilkshire, Flottmann, Mutch, Bandiera
Midfielders: O'Neill, Brillante, Retre, Kalik, Ninkovic, Mierzejewski, Carney, Zuvela
Attackers: Bobo, Brosque, Simon, Lokolingoy, Tilio, Cox