UK BOUND: Australian Paralympic football captain David Barber is off to his fifth World Championships.
UK BOUND: Australian Paralympic football captain David Barber is off to his fifth World Championships. Matti Brooks

Barber leads Aussie Paralympic Football team for 18 years

ROCKHAMPTON'S David Barber has played for the Australian Paralympic Football team, the Pararoos for an amazing 18 years.

Even more incredibly he's been the captain for all 18. He's seen the world, leading the Pararoos in four World Championships, in England, Argentina, Brazil and Holland. He's also captained his country at the Paralympics in Sydney 2000, where the Pararoos finished seventh.

Barber is soon to depart for London, where he will once again lead the Pararoos at his fifth Paralympic World Championships. Held every four years, the 2015 World Championships have special significance.

"These championships double as a qualifier for the Paralympics in Rio next year," Barber explained.

Only the top two teams from each pool progress to the quarter finals, so Barber, the experienced campaigner he is, has no illusions as to the enormity of the task ahead of his team.

"We have drawn Russia, ranked one in the world and Ireland, ranked fifth in our pool, so it won't be easy," he said.

"We square off first against Portugal and I believe we can do well in that match,.

"It will be tricky though, they beat us one nil the last time we met. Then it's Ireland. We feel confident we can win both those games," Barber said.

The Pararoos are ranked 12th in the world, but they haven't played together for two years.

"A lot of the leading nations are fully professional," Barber said.

"We are strictly amateur."



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