The first game of the 2018 FFA Cup is a chance for Avondale FC to make history.
For former Hyundai A-League midfielder Jonatan Germano, it's also a chance for him to show his gratitude for the club that, in his own words, "did so much for me and my family".
The National Premier Leagues Victoria club have already gone further than ever before – reaching the Round of 32, where they will host four-time National Soccer League champions Marconi.
In the FFA Cup’s first broadcast match of the new tournament – live on Fox Sports from 7.30pm AEST on Wednesday 25 July – Avondale’s stars will be hoping to make lasting memories.
“For the club this is the first time we’ll be in a competition like this,” explained Germano to theffacup.com.au.
A former Melbourne City player, Germano racked up 56 appearances in the Hyundai A-League, but now finds himself pulling strings in the NPL.
“The FFA Cup is a big competition when you play in [the NPL] – it’s a chance to have an A-League team if we get through [the test of Marconi].
“For us, this is a final.
“We’re very comfortable, we’ve been doing ok in the league and we’re looking forward to Wednesday against Marconi … we know it won’t be easy.
“They also have good players [formerly] from the A-League, they’ve played in the last three years so they’re a good team to play.”
Avondale’s squad is made up of familiar names – Ramazan Tavsancioglu, Stefan Zinni, Joey Katebian to name a few – and they face up against Marconi who also boast a list of former Hyundai A-League players.
Michael Beauchamp, Mateo Poljak, Marko Jesic, Sean Rooney and Peter Triantis are among those who could line up for the Stallions, with Germano quashing the notion he or other ex-professionals will feel added responsibility on the night.
“I don’t know if it’s [an added] responsibility [on the ex-Hyundai A-League players],” Germano explained.
“We have to go out every game – in the Cup and in the league – and the former A-League players have to perform very well.
“We try to go in there on Wednesday and put everything together to win the game. But I don’t think it’s responsibility because we’re very comfortable.”
The 30-year-old has been in impressive form this season for Avondale as the club sit third on the ladder in the Victorian top flight.
But to go through to the Round of 16, and set up a potential clash against a Hyundai A-League opponent, would mean so much to the club – a club which allowed the Argentine to earn his Australian citizenship after he was released by Melbourne City.
“For these people who are tied to the club, this game is massive,” said Germano.
“For a lot of them, they [might] never had the chance to play in the FFA Cup again – we will do everything for the club on Wednesday night.
“Everyone can see what the club is – this is a family club that gives everything for you, so we have to pay them back the way they’ve given to us. The people in the club have put in a lot of effort.”
He added: “After I played for Melbourne City, I wanted another chance to play in the A-League but no clubs came and talked to me.
“But this club in the NPL opened the door for me and they did a lot for me, for my family and I choose to stay in Melbourne.
“One, because they helped me with my visa – I’m an Australian citizen now – and I’m so happy to play and give everything for this team because it means a lot for me and I want to go through in the FFA Cup to help them in another way because they’ve done a lot for me.”
FFA Cup Round of 32 match night one fixtures:
- Port Melbourne Sharks v APIA Leichhardt Tigers – Wednesday 25 July at 7.30pm AEST
- Canberra FC v Broadmeadow Magic FC – Wednesday 25 July at 7.30pm AEST
- Avondale FC v Marconi Stallions FC – Wednesday 25 July at 7.30pm AEST
- Lions FC v Olympic FC – Wednesday 25 July at 7.30pm AEST
- Gwelup Croatia SC v Adelaide Comets – Wednesday 25 July at 8.30pm AEST
- Bonnyrigg White Eagles v Hakoah Sydney City East – Wednesday 25 July at 8.30pm AEST