Vet­eran Cahill has un­fin­ished busi­ness

New Straits Times - - Sport -

SYD­NEY: Aus­tralia’s Tim Cahill be­lieves his ap­petite for play­ing foot­ball is as strong as ever and he is ready to bring that pas­sion to bear to help drive his coun­try to a fourth suc­ces­sive World Cup fi­nals.

Cahill scored the ma­jor­ity of his coun­try’s goals at the last three World Cups and is back in the Soc­ceroos squad for their crunch qual­i­fier against Iraq in Tehran to­day.

The 37-year-old be­came a cult hero at English clubs Ever­ton and Mill­wall in the first decade of the cen­tury be­cause of his goalscor­ing prow­ess and ex­tra­or­di­nary com­mit­ment.

Af­ter stints in the United States and China, Cahill is now back home play­ing for Mel­bourne City and said his love for the game re­mains undimmed in his 20th year as a pro­fes­sional.

“My pas­sion out­weighs any­one’s, in my opin­ion,” he told Syd­ney’s Daily Tele­graph in Iran, where the qual­i­fier is be­ing held be­cause of safety con­cerns in Iraq.

“I’ve had a great ca­reer but I also have a con­tract for next sea­son to win tro­phies. My job at Mel­bourne City was to win tro­phies and help the club get on the map.

“I feel like I’ve ticked some boxes but I also feel there’s a lot to ful­fil. I don’t see my­self as a player who wants to fin­ish any time soon, or doesn’t have the ap­petite.”

His lack of game time at Mel­bourne City means Cahill is un­likely to start against the for­mer Asian cham­pi­ons in the Ira­nian cap­i­tal but it would be a sur­prise if he did not come off the bench at some stage.

Cahill’s 48 goals in 94 matches starkly il­lus­trate his value to the team but he has also al­ways had the knack of scor­ing at key mo­ments for his coun­try.

Af­ter three straight draws in the third round of Asia qual­i­fy­ing for Rus­sia 2018, Ange Postecoglou’s side will be des­per­ate for a win to­day to keep pace with Saudi Ara­bia, Ja­pan and the United Arab Emi­rates at the top of Group B.

Only one point sep­a­rates the top four and with only the first two guar­an­teed trips to Rus­sia, Aus­tralia will be look­ing for a max­i­mum re­turn out of the Iraq match and next week’s home game against the UAE. Reuters

Tim Cahill

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