Socceroos legend Tim Cahill has made a surprise visit to Australia’s camp in Qatar ahead of the must-win World Cup qualifier against the United Arab Emirates.
Cahill addressed Australia’s 28-man squad at a team lunch in Doha on Sunday, providing inspiration to the group before Tuesday’s (Wednesday morning, AEST) Asian play-off.
The former Everton star is an ambassador for the Qatar 2022 World Cup and watched last week’s 2-1 friendly win over Jordan by the Socceroos.
“I’ve got a great relationship with Timmy from 2004 when he came into the Socceroos and the Olyroos at that time,” Socceroos coach Graham Arnold told AAP.
“You’ve got this guy doing so much for Qatari football and that’s one little thing that makes you think he’s doing it for Qatari football and you’d love him to be doing it for Australian football because he’s a legend of the game.
“A fantastic guy, inspirational, and who better to speak to the group than someone who’s been to four World Cups, has achieved so many special moments in life.”
The all-time leading goalscorer for the Australian men’s national team, Cahill is one of only two Socceroos to have been part of four World Cup squads, along with Mark Milligan.
In nine finals appearances, Cahill scored a record five goals including a double in the famous win over Japan in Germany in 2006.
“The way he just spoke about the Australian shirt and the emotion and the pride that he takes and gives … we’d be crazy not to have him in,” Arnold said.
“He played with some of these boys at the last World Cup and there’s a big part of the players and staff that have never been a World Cup to drive that special message.
“Timmy’s a legend and a hero to everyone … how many Australians have done a World Cup draw?
“He’s the only one and that’s how highly he’s respected over here.”