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Oct 7, 2009

Moore's idol Yankos pulls on boots again

Socceroo Craig Moore used to worship Charlie Yankos.

As a 13-year-old ballboy in 1988, Moore watched in awe as the Socceroo striker scored a remarkable long-range goal against Argentina.

Two decades on, Moore is once again on the sidelines watching his idol. But the roles are almost reversed.

Moore will play his 44th game for the Socceroos on Saturday night in a friendly against the Netherlands, as Yankos pulls on his boots one more time.

Yankos played 49 games for the Socceroos during the 1980s, including Australia's historic 4-1 win over then world champions Argentina.

He scored two goals that night, including a free kick from more than 30 metres out that slotted into the top-right corner of the net.

It is a moment which burned itself into Moore's memory when he "was young and had dreams of playing for the Socceroos".

"That moment played a very big part in me becoming involved with football," he said.

On Thursday, Moore got to present the 48-year-old Yankos with his first green and gold jersey in 20 years.

Yankos will wear it on Saturday when he again leads an Australian soccer team, the Olderoos, as part of the World Masters Games.

The Olderoos will field an illustrious team including former skippers Alex Tobin and Paul Wade and, from the 1988 Olympic side, Graham Jennings and Oscar Crino.

The training sessions have been a combination of entertaining yarns and a lot of hurt as the veterans start cranking up their dormant muscles and joints.

"When I first started running, just trying to get the lungs up, that was the hardest part for me," Yankos said.

"The muscles started to reject it, saying `hey, hey, hey, I don't want to do this at all.'"

Although most of the team have not played for 20 years, Yankos is certain once the socks are pulled up and the whistle blows, the muscles will recall how they moved in their heyday.

"Hopefully things will just click and we can at least pass it to each other," he said.

"There won't be too many long-through balls."

The Olderoos will play their first game on Saturday at 4.30pm (AEDT) at Valentine Sports Park, Glenwood in Sydney's north-west.

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