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Kyah Simon returns as Matildas name squad for 2020 Olympic qualifiers

Kyah Simon
Kyah Simon has been recalled to the Matildas squad after missing the summer's World Cup through injury.

Melbourne City striker Kyah Simon has been included in the 20-member Matildas squad for the 2020 Olympics qualification matches in China next month.

A succession of ankle and hamstring injuries meant Simon was left out of the Australia's squad for last year's Women's World Cup in France, as well as November's friendlies against Chile.

"I haven't had her in a match day scenario... she's been injured for a long period of time," Matildas boss Ante Milicic said. "I feel she's slowly getting back to her old self and some form."

Record goalscorer Lisa de Vanna again missed selection, as she did for the games against Chile, but Milicic insists the strength of talent in the first third forced him to make tough decisions.

"As a coach you don't always get it right, but what I do like with the smaller side is that the competition is a lot stronger for places and I think we've shown that," he said.

"It was a difficult squad to pick but in the end we've gone with what we feel will do the job in difficult conditions with three difficult games in a short space of time."

The Matildas' will hold a Jan. 20-27 training camp in Sydney prior to the Tokyo Games qualifiers against Chinese Taipei, Thailand and China in early February, but health concerns are overshadowing the buildup with the FFA and Matildas staff closely monitoring two health and safety situations.

Smoke haze continues to blanket Sydney because of the bush fires ravaging southeastern Australia, which is greatly affecting air quality. There are also reports of a mysterious pneumonia-like virus that has swept through Wuhan in central China, where the Matildas are due to arrive on January 28 for their three matches.

"Normally, of course you'd be concerned. The FFA is aware of it, the team manager and myself have discussed it, they're on top of it," Milicic said.

"We're monitoring the situation and doing all that we can to get on the front foot and we wouldn't jeopardise the welfare of the players or the staff.

"It's something we'll monitor day to day and see where it lands."

Given the conditions in Sydney, Matildas officials will monitor the air quality for the safety of the athletes in the lead up to the camp later this month.

Full Matildas squad:

Mackenzie Arnold (GK), Ellie Carpenter, Steph Catley, Caitlin Foord, Emily Gielnik, Katrina Gorry, Elise Kellond-Knight, Alanna Kennedy, Sam Kerr (Captain), Chloe Logarzo, Aivi Luik, Jenna McCormick, Teagan Micah (gk), Clare Polkinghorne, Hayley Raso, Karly Roestbakken, Kyah Simon, Emily van Egmond, Sarah Willacy (GK), Lydia Williams (GK), Tameka Yallop.

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