Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Musalik mystery takes another twist

THE mystery surrounding one of Australian most important footballers thickens.
TWO weeks ago Stuart Musalik was named in the Olyroos starting 11 to play Lebanon in the matchday 4 Olympic games qualifier in Beirut. The next morning we learnt he hadn't started; that his Jets teammate Adam D'Apuzzo had instead played in the 0-0 draw. No explanation was provided by the FFA.
He returned to Sydney on Friday morning, with news filtering from Newcastle that he would be sitting in the grandstand for his team's clash that night with the Roar. Again, no explanation from the Jets.
Then, last Friday, at the Telstra Dome, it was there for all to see. Musalik was clearly seen warming up after being named in the starting 11, but then, as the teams were preparing to kick-off, the Jets wanted to substitute Musalik for Noel Spencer. After a bit of commotion and debate with the officials, they did.
The explanation from the Jets assistant coach Mark Jones, at half time, was the Olyroo was suffering from a stomach bug that he may have picked up in Lebanon and that he was "still on the toilet".
Anyway, he was left on the bench, and not needed as the Jets performed their smash and grab raid on Melbourne.
Now comes the news, according to Gary van Egmond, that Musalik may even have an appendix problem.
Whatever the diagnosis, for the sake of our Olyroos and their crucial clash against Iraq on November 17, let's hope the Musalik is back on deck and influencing games soon.
To use van Egmond's words, it's not only the Jets that "can't afford to be without a player of his quality for any length of time."
Update, Thursday 01 November; according to this report, Musalik had his appendix removed yesterday (oh, the pain!), will not play in the blockbuster on Saturday night against Sydney, may not play next week (round 12), but should be right for the Olyroos fixtures. That's good news for Australia's Olympic Games hopes, but in the meantime, wishing Musalik a speedy recover.