CAPTAIN Dwight Yorke yesterday promised Sydney FC fans that the team would not go to Japan next month as whipping boys of the FIFA Club World Championship.
Yorke said he planned to lead from the front and that he and Japan legend Kazu (a guest player for the Blues) had a responsibility to lift the Sydney players against Deportivo Saprissa of Costa Rica and hope for a showdown with Europe champions Liverpool.
Sydney is guaranteed two matches - a loss to Saprissa at Toyota Stadium in Toyota City on December 12 would see it play the losers of the game between Saudi Arabia's Al Ittihad and Egypt's Al Ahly in Tokyo four days later.
Yorke expects all six clubs, including Brazil's Sao Paulo and Liverpool, to treat the CWC (which replaces the Toyota Cup) with the utmost respect.
"We're excited - this is a very special occasion," he said yesterday when FIFA representatives unveiled the CWC trophy in Sydney.
"One of our goals is to try and make sure we get to the next stage but first we have to take care of Deportivo and the Central Americans are a very tricky and well established team.
"We'll be underdogs, there's no doubt about that. We have just got to go out and play our own game and give a good account of ourselves and play to our maximum.
"If we can do that we can give anybody a game but, at the end of the day, we know Liverpool are the team we want but it's not going to come easy.
"We have to be prepared to work extremely hard to get past Deportivo.
"We are going there to compete and win. Again, we are inexperienced - some of our players haven't played outside the country and are not used to this type of competition. Still, it's a learning curve for everybody.
"Having the experience of myself, Kazu, David Zdrilic and Steve Corica, we are going to have to try and help the youngsters. This is what it's all about.
"Again it's a great occasion for people to express themselves and, of course, the chance to make sure that we meet Liverpool in the next round.
"The pressure won't be on us because we'll be expected to be the team to go out in the first round. Again we're not there just to turn up."
Sydney coach Pierre Littbarski, who returns to his second home, said: "We are regarded as newcomers and that can be a disadvantage but we have some other qualities and we will bring the Australian fighting spirit in to Japan."