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Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Porta in frame for Socceroos

By Liam FitzGibbon

Sydney-born striker Richard Porta could soon be a serious candidate to play for the Socceroos with coach Holger Osieck revealing moves are underway to make him eligible for Australia.

Porta, 29, has been a prolific goalscorer at club level and has signalled an interest in playing for his country of birth on several occasions.

He is seen by many as an answer to Australia's shortage of genuine strikers but the fact he represented Uruguay at the 2003 South American Youth Championship means he needs clearance from world soccer's governing body FIFA to have his eligibility changed.

While Porta was overlooked by former coach Pim Verbeek, Osieck said on Wednesday he had been monitoring him at United Arab Emirates (UAE) team Dubai Club and was hoping he would officially commit to Australia.

"He has been monitored by us and, of course, he does well," Osieck said.

"He plays well, he scores and he could be a potential candidate for us.

"But first of all, he has to commit personally to Australia. Secondly, we have to go through the procedure of all the paperwork."

Osieck said Porta had confirmed he was interested in playing for the Socceroos and, while the ball was in the player's court at the moment, Football Federation Australia had begun the process of trying to get his eligibility changed.

"We already started all the stuff. It depends now how long it's going to take," Osieck said.

"He is interested. But one obstacle we have to face is he hardly speaks English - I'm not too firm in Spanish so it's going to be tough to communicate."

Porta, who left Australia at the age of one, scored 17 goals in helping Montevideo powerhouse Nacional to the Uruguayan title last season, despite missing half the campaign after going out on loan to Diego Maradona's Al Wasl in the UAE.

He returned to the UAE this season, reportedly knocking back an offer from England, and has six goals in six games for his new club.

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