OLIVER Bozanic said the chance to captain his country in front of family and friends on the Central Coast on Sunday would be one of the highlights of his blossoming career.
After outstanding form for the Mariners during the last A-League season Bozanic has been named captain of the Olyroos for Sunday's Olympic qualifier against Yemen at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford.
Selection as skipper continues what has been a whirlwind 12 months for the Central Coast product.
After playing professionally with several clubs in England, Bozanic returned home desperate to establish himself under Graham Arnold at the Mariners.
After a steady start, the midfielder was outstanding during the second half of the season as the Mariners went all the way to grand final.
Bozanic formed a key part of one of the best midfield combinations in the competition.
Now his focus is on guiding Australia to next year's London Olympics starting with a big performance against the unpredictable Yemen on Sunday.
"Everyone dreams of playing for Australia and to get a chance to do that at home and be captain is a bonus," Bozanic said.
"Hopefully we can get our campaign off to a good start in front of a big crowd. We've trained well and will be ready to go on Sunday."
Bozanic played 60 minutes in a training match against Singapore at Blacktown on Tuesday and was happy with his performance.
He did not score in the 6-0 whitewash but had plenty of good touches during his 60 minutes on the field.
There is a real Central Coast Mariners connection with the Olyroos.
Mustafa Amini and Sam Gallagher are also in the squad along with former Mariners goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne, who is now playing Brisbane.