Veteran Socceroo Sasa Ognenovski hopes his return to the A-League will put him back in contention for Ange Postecoglou’s World Cup squad.
Socceroo Sasa Ognenovski admits playing in the Middle East hurt his chances of a World Cup call-up.
But the veteran defender is confident his return to the A-League with Sydney FC will put him back on national coach Ange Postecoglou’s selection radar.
The 34-year-old had been searching for a club after leaving Qatari outfit Umm-Salal in December, shortly after being axed from Postecoglou’s set-up for November’s friendly against Costa Rica.
Despite receiving offers from Asia, Ognenovski believed Australia provided him with the best opportunity to add to his 22 caps in June’s showpiece.
“Obviously playing over there in Qatar doesn’t help. I don’t think too many people would get up to watch a Qatar Stars League game,” he said before joining his new Sky Blue teammates at training on Thursday.
“Playing here, I’ll be under his (Postecoglou’s) nose.
“Hopefully I can do enough here to make his decision a lot harder,” he said.
“But my main focus at the moment is to play for Sydney FC and play well, and whatever happens from there happens.”
Ognenovski – whose last A-League appearance was in 2009 with Adelaide United – is one of several prospective Socceroos who have returned to Australia hoping to keep their World Cup dreams alive, including Tom Rogic (Melbourne Victory), Matthew Spiranovic (Western Sydney Wanderers), Mark Bresciano and Harry Kewell (Melbourne Heart).
And in Ongenovski’s eyes, that’s not a bad thing.
“You’re getting players playing overseas coming back and probably strengthening the league,” he said.
“There wasn’t a message sent out, we didn’t get an email from the FFA (Football Federation Australia) to tell us all to come back.
“But it’s always good to come back home as a footballer. We travel around a lot and it’s not always easy.”
While Ognenovski is open to staying in Sydney beyond the current season, coach Frank Farina’s focus is solely on the remaining 10 games.
“Bringing Sasa in, particularly after releasing (Pascal) Bosschaart and Tiago (Calvano), we were a little bit thin (in defence),” said Farina, who previously coached Ognenovski in Brisbane.
“He’s a great one to pick up with his experience in Asia, here in the A-League and with the national team.
“He’s got a goal of getting to the World Cup, so he’s got every incentive to do well.”
Meanwhile Ali Abbas has secured a two-year contract extension with the Sky Blues.
Farina said Abbas is one of his side’s most consistent performers and sees him cementing his place at left-back for many years to come.