Portsmouth forward Kusini Yengi earned his first Australia call-up on Thursday as Socceroos coach Graham Arnold looks to get qualification for the 2026 World Cup off to a flying start.
Arnold named a largely unchanged 23-man squad to play Bangladesh next Thursday in Melbourne before facing Palestine in Kuwait on November 21.
Genghis, 24, comes in to provide firepower, having scored five times in nine appearances for Portsmouth, who compete in England’s third division.
Charlton Athletic goalkeeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer, another uncapped player, also got the nod.
“We have to come out with that siege mentality to win every game,” said Arnold, who led Australia to the last 16 of the World Cup in Qatar, where they lost 2-1 to eventual champions Argentina.
“It’s about getting that energy out on the field and getting the job done,” he added.
Arnold said he wanted to bolster his offensive options for games against opponents who should pose relatively little threat, at least on paper.
The bubbly Yengi is 189cm (six foot two inches) tall and has impressed since moving to Portsmouth in the summer from Western Sydney Wanderers.
“Yengi is doing great at Portsmouth,” said Arnold, whose side gave England a shock 1-0 friendly defeat at Wembley last month.
It gives us something completely different in terms of size and speed, and I think that’s important for these two games.”
In addition to the start of the World Cup qualifiers, the Asian Cup in Qatar is also just two months away.
“The experiments are over,” Arnold said.
“Now it’s all about getting the tactics right and getting the players on the pitch and their performance right and winning these games at all costs.”
Lebanon is the other Group I team in the second round of Asian World Cup qualifiers in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
The campaign doubles with qualification for the 2027 Asian Cup in Saudi Arabia.
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