Castro in, Keogh out for Glory's ACL games

Justin Chadwick
·2-min read

Diego Castro will headline Perth Glory's youthful Asian Champions League squad after making peace with the club's hierarchy but striker Andy Keogh missed out.

Glory have been forced to take the unusual step of adding an extra coach for the tournament after Richard Garcia could not get his Pro Licence in time.

Keogh rejoined the club last month and recently gained his Australian citizenship.

But under AFC regulations thre former Ireland international is still considered an overseas player, and the Glory have already allocated their three foreigner spots.

Veterans Castro and Bruno Fornaroli headline the youthful 22-man squad, with new defensive recruit Darryl Lachman to fly directly from his native Netherlands to link up with the group in Doha.

Castro's future was thrown into doubt when he refused to go into the club's NSW hub last season and instead took his family on holiday in WA.

But he has since made peace with owner Tony Sage and chief executive Tony Pignata, ending a worrying saga that threatened to turn ugly.

Other regulars from last season in the ACL squad include Liam Reddy, Neil Kilkenny, Osama Malik, Nicholas D'Agostino and Dane Ingham.

Defender Alex Grant was ruled out with a calf injury.

The rest of the squad is almost unrecognisable from last season.

Nicholas Walsh, Mason Tatafu, Joshua Rawlins, Giordano Colli, and Bryce Bafford have been promoted from Perth's academy team, while former Glory youth players Luke Bodnar and Daniel Stynes have returned to the fold after successful stints in the NPL WA.

Bayswater City midfielder Declan Hughes, 20, was included after impressing during a trial period with the club and he is joined by recent signings Brandon Wilson, Jonathan Aspropotamitis, Nick Sullivan and returning goalkeeper Tando Velaphi.

Glory's remaining matches in Group F against Shanghai Shenhua, FC Tokyo and Ulsan Hyundai will be the first under new coach Garcia, who replaced the departed Tony Popovic.

With each participating club requiring a coach who holds a Pro Licence, Glory have been forced to include former Football West Technical Director Chris Ola for the competition.

"I was due to complete my Pro Licence this year but unfortunately COVID-19 prevented me from doing that," Garcia said.

"I'm therefore very grateful to Chris for coming in and appreciate all the help that he has already provided."

The travelling party will depart Perth on Saturday before they face Shanghai Shenhua in Al-Rayyan next Wednesday.

Glory lost 1-0 to FC Tokyo in Japan in February before the ACL was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Perth ACL squad: Liam Reddy, Tando Velaphi, Cameron Cook, Nicholas Walsh, Luke Bodnar, Jonathan Aspropotamitis, Darryl Lachman, Mason Tatafu, Joshua Rawlins, Brandon Wilson, Dane Ingham, Carlo Armiento, Osama Malik, Declan Hughes, Neil Kilkenny, Nick Sullivan, Daniel Stynes, Diego Castro, Bruno Fornaroli, Giordano Colli, Bryce Bafford, Nick D'Agostino.