Eli Babalj has signed with Brisbane Roar until the end of the season.
Eli Babalj has signed with Brisbane Roar until the end of the season.

Roar turns to journeyman for ignition

IMPRESSIVE training form has earned former Socceroos striker Eli Babalj an injury-replacement deal with Brisbane Roar.

Brisbane last week offered the 27-year-old marksman - whose most recent club was Indian Super League outfit ATK  - ­a trial.

And despite being short on fitness due to a lack of recent football, Babalj's class was obvious, according to Roar interim coach Darren Davies.

"We want to give him a platform and an opportunity to prove himself," Davies said.

Babalj, who is contracted to the Roar until the end of the season, is grateful at having a chance to reignite his career.

"I've really enjoyed training with Darren and the group," said Babalj, whose former clubs include Melbourne Heart, Red Star Belgrade, AZ Alkmaar and Adelaide United.

"Everyone's been welcoming. I look forward to contributing to the team.


"Darren seems to like to play with two up front so that's my favourite, playing with a partner up front, so hopefully we can make the most of the rest of the season."

Eli Babalj during his playing days with Adelaide United.
Eli Babalj during his playing days with Adelaide United.

Davies is undecided whether Babalj will be used against Western Sydney Wanderers at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night, but said the forward's signing added further depth to Brisbane's attack following the recent acquisition of ex-Sydney FC striker Charles Lokoli-Ngoy.

Meanwhile, another of Brisbane's attackers, Nick D'Agostino, has been named in the Olyroos squad for 2020 AFC Under-23 Championship qualifiers against Cambodia, Chinese Taipei, and Korea Republic.

The matches take place in Cambodia from March 22-26, with the squad to prepare with a camp in Malaysia where they will play friendlies against Malaysian Super League side Petaling Jaya City and the Malaysian under-22 national team.

"Our three matches in Cambodia represent our first step on the path to next year's Olympic Games, and everyone involved with our squad is eager to help Australia return to the men's football tournament for the first time since Beijing in 2008," Olyroos coach Graham Arnold said.

Arnold has also been announced as a keynote speaker at International Football Coaching Conference Australia event on the Gold Coast on May 25-26.

"No doubt delegates will get a lot out of this conference on many different levels," Arnold said.

"I hope to be able to give them some insights around our national teams as well as share some of my football coaching experiences."