Capital Football will commence its Westfield FFA Cup Preliminary Rounds with a big double header on the opening night as Canberra City take on ANU FC followed by Brindabella Blues against Goulburn Strikers.
Changes won’t hurt ANU FC Ambitions
Australian National University (ANU) FC come into the Westfield FFA Cup Qualifiers seeking to improve on last season’s showing in what was then the Federation Cup.
After seeing off fellow Capital League contenders O’Connor Knights and White Eagles, ANU was dumped out of the competition at the Quarter final stage by National Premier League opponents Woden Valley. But the cup run certainly pointed the club in the right direction in terms of their ultimate league campaign.
Winning the Capital League Championship trophy, finishing one point clear of White Eagles, cemented the first half of what looked certain to be a double only for the side to fall at the final hurdle to Weston-Molonglo FC, going down 0-2 in the Grand Final. There has been significant change around the squad since then but the quality, and expectation, hasn’t diminished.
“Preseason preparations and integration of new squad members has been underway since mid-January,” Head Coach Branko Milenovic commented.
A total of 13 new faces and talent have been recruited for ANU FC this season across the Capital League and its associated Reserve Grade squad of 32 players.
“Our key players to watch in the opening match include Olaide Yinka-Kehinde, the African Gazelle, and Chase Deans, the Irish import, a combination whom will terrorise any defence with their pace,” Milenovic revealed.
ANU have suffered some notable losses in the off-season however and will need to find adequate replacements for the likes of Danny Krajacic, last year’s CL Golden Boot winner, central defensive lynchpin Sam Carters, who is studying overseas and Patty Mayoh and Hugh Ekin-Smyth, two club stalwarts who’s family and work commitments see them take a sabbatical from the team.
Strikers aiming to rediscover past glory
The Westfield FFA Cup 2015 Qualifiers will once more shine the spotlight on Goulburn Strikers.
It’s been five years since the brightest day in the history of the NSW club when the newly arrived NPL side romped their way to the Federation Cup Final and led Canberra FC 2-0 only to fall at the final hurdle. This season they return to the famous competition aiming to grab a chance at the possibility of qualification for the Westfield FFA Cup proper with their task beginning against Brindabella Blues – the lowest ranked team in the Canberra qualifiers.
“It's been a number of years since we've come up against a side from Brindabella and the games were always competitive affairs,” Goulburn vice-captain Adam Mills commented.
“I expect the players representing Brindabella are playing because they want to be part of the club, much like our own players. I think we'll see plenty of heart and camaraderie from them.
After their taste of the big time the Strikers suffered a couple of seasons of trials and tribulations but have come out of the experience tougher and more unwavering than ever to re-establish the region as a force in Canberra football.
“We really struggled having lost a lot of our frontline players,” Mills confirmed.
“However, last season we had a really good year taking out the final of our division. We were disappointed that we were unable to hold onto the lead to win the league but you take trophies when they come. Realistically as a club in the rebuilding phase we're just looking for a good showing in the early rounds and to give the guys an opportunity to play true cup football and be part of what is now a national competition.”
This will be the 15th season in which the Strikers have played in the Capital Football competition, and with them determined to make their mark, there will be no easy ride for whomever meets this resurgent squad.
WESTFIELD FFA CUP PRELIMINARY ROUNDS
Capital Football Round 3
Tuesday 14th April
Canberra City v ANU FC (Hawker) 6pm
Brindabella Blues v Goulburn Strikers (Hawker) 8pm
Wednesday 15th AprilNarrabundah FC v O’Connor Knights (Hawker) 8pm