Coach Graham Arnold is confident the Socceroos will be back in Sydney for next month’s World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia.

The Socceroos haven’t played at home since beating Nepal in Canberra in the second round of qualifiers in October 2019.

The previous phase of qualifying was completed in a Kuwait hub while Australia have played a ‘home’ game against China in Doha – and will do the same against Oman next Friday before facing Japan away in Saitama.

But the NSW government’s call to allow two Matildas friendlies to be played at CommBank Stadium later this month has opened the door for Sydney to host the Socceroos’ game on November 11.

“I’m very optimistic because the organisation, James Johnson and the FA have told us that we will play back in Sydney in November,” Arnold said.

“We’ve played nine games out of 10 World Cup qualifiers away from home.

“I’ve been in charge now for 20 games – I’ve played three in Australia, so it’s 17 away from home, (this will be game) 18 away from home.

“So it would be great to get back in front of the Australian public and I know for a fact the boys love nothing more than getting back to playing in front of the Australian fans and families as well.”

Getting games back in Australia – and anticipated shorter, home quarantine stints in the future, should help with future squad selections.

Mat Leckie and Jamie Maclaren are among the regulars not in the current squad, with Chris Ikonomidis and Rhyan Grant, who has recently been based in Scotland, the only A-League Men players involved.

“It’s a much longer process than normal because you have to speak to every player and make sure they’re okay and they’re willing to come,” Arnold said.

“Because … the overseas-based boys, at this moment in time in life have more flexibility in life and have sports exemptions when they get back to their countries.

“They get tested and off they go back to their job or back to training.

“But for the boys in Australia it’s taken a special thing like Rhyan Grant has done, and support from Sydney FC so where he stayed away in between the camps and was able to train with (Hibernian FC) and we’re so grateful to Hibs in Scotland that they’ve been able to help us with that.

“Every individual has their own choice and (for) a lot of them the 14-day (hotel) quarantine when they get back to Australia is – I believe, anyway – it’s not much fun.”

Socceroos eye home qualifier in November
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