Road trips are nothing new for the penalty kings from the Australian Alps.
Hailing from Cooma, a sleepy country town in the south of New South Wales, the Tigers’ home ground, Nijong Oval, is closer to Mount Kosciuszko than it is to Canberra.
Their regional location, with a population of only around 8,000, means they have to travel 250km round trips to play away games in the Australian Capital Territory's top division.
The boys in yellow and black will make their FFA Cup Round of 32 debut in a home tie against Victorian side Hume City, but they will have to get back on the bus for the match at Deakin Stadium in the nation's capital, likely to be played in sub-zero temperatures.
After spending more than three weeks of pre-season training in Argentina, the Tigers earned their FFA Cup stripes in the most nail-biting way possible.
Having never advanced past the fourth preliminary round before, Gaby Wilk’s side knocked off Monaro Panthers 1-0, UC Pumas 6-1 and Tuggeranong United 2-0 to set up a winner-takes-all match against territory's most decorated club and FFA Cup 2016 Semi-Finallists, Canberra FC.
A tense encounter finished locked at 0-0 in fog so thick players could barely see. There was a 10-minute delay before extra-time, and then, after another 30 minutes of stalemate, the spot-kicks were delayed by a further 30 minutes.
But the outsiders from NSW held their nerve deep into the night to take a dramatic 4-2 shootout victory to lift the Federation Cup and book their FFA Cup ticket in one of the proudest moments in the club’s history.
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Image courtesy of Cooma Tigers Facebook page
Competition: National Premier Leagues Capital Football
Home ground: Nijong Oval
Honours: ACT League Premiers 2014
ACT League Champions 2006, 2012
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Cooma Football Club was formed in 1952 by workers of the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme, but it was not until 2006 when they really announced themselves in Capital Football lore.
After 54 years in existence, the Tigers became ACT champions for the first time with a 2-1 win against Canberra Olympic in 2006.
They triumphed in another grand final in 2012 with a 2-1 win against Belconnen United, following a then-best league finish of second.
In 2014, the Tigers could finally call themselves Premiers after they lifted the NPL Capital Football title. Five years later, they are seeking to put themselves on the national football map.
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NPL Capital Football's top scorer Nico Abot is tough as nails. The Argentinian striker netted a double in a 2-1 away win at Tuggeranong with a severely injured shoulder.
Abot forms a partnership with fellow South American dangerman Jose Defilippi, who has starred in his homeland, Argentina, and in Paraguay over the past 16 years.
Goalkeeper Jakob Cole was the hero of the thrilling penalty shootout triumph over Canberra FC. After a flawless performance, he stepped out of the fog to score the winning spot-kick.
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Round of 32 Match Details
Tigers FC v Hume City FC
Date: Wednesday, 31 July 2019
Venue: Deakin Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 7.30pm AEST
Click here for ticket details