Australia should use next year's Asian Cup in Qatar to start building its next generation of footballers, international defender Craig Moore said on Sunday.
With a large contingent of the ageing national squad expected to retire from international football after June's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, Moore said it time to start afresh with the Socceroos at the Asian Cup.
Australia have drawn Korea Republic, Bahrain and India in their group for next January's Asian football showpiece and must finish in the top two to reach the knockout stage.
"It [Asian Cup] has to be used as a rebuilding phase," Moore told the Sunday Telegraph. "I certainly won't be continuing after the World Cup in South Africa and I'm sure there will be five or six others who won't be either."
Football Federation Australia technical director Han Berger said after Friday's draw in Doha that he doubted whether European clubs would release key players Tim Cahill and Harry Kewell for the tournament.
"Regardless of whether Tim or Harry are available, we have to build for the future and start to get the new boys ready for the World Cup qualifiers for Brazil ," Moore said. "It's the Tommy Oars and Michael Zullos that we now have to look forward to. They have to start getting the experience. I'd like to think they will come on, but only time will tell."
Changes are coming
The core of Australia's likely FIFA World Cup squad is 30 and older and it is expected that this will be the last campaign for Moore, Scott Chipperfield, Vince Grella, Mark Bresciano, Brett Emerton and Kewell.
"I have had a wonderful journey, but enough is enough," said Moore, a former Glasgow Rangers defender. "I'm sure Australia will continue to produce good players, but they have to make that transition from club football to national team football. The Asian Cup is the ideal stage for the next crop."
Australia are also looking for a new national coach after the FIFA World Cup with Pim Verbeek already announcing he will be stepping down from the job. The Socceroos will play India in their opening match at the Asian Cup on January 10, followed by games against fellow World Cup finalists South Korea on January 14 and Bahrain on January 18. The Asian Cup would normally have been played in July but was brought forward because of the heat in Qatar at that time of year.