Philippe Bernabo-Madrid has a team. It's Western Sydney Wanderers and he wants to inflict revenge on Sydney FC by helping his semi pro NPL outfit Canberra Olympic pull off a shock in next Wednesday night’s Westfield FFA Cup semi-final.
Bernabo-Madrid, who has also worked under Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold during a trial at Central Coast Mariners four years ago, says Olympic is enjoying the “surreal” experience of being on the national stage and a clash with the Sky Blues.
A crowd of around 8000 is expected at Viking Park as the part-timers from the semi pro NPL club in the nation’s capital face the Hyundai A-League powerhouse.
Bernabo-Madrid, who scored the winner in Olympic’s round of 32 win over Surfers Paradise, says the buzz is building in Canberra as they aim to pull off a huge upset and reach the final.
Though after heading up to Sydney to witness his Hyundai A-League team's thumping at the hands of the Sky Blues in the Sydney Derby last week, the Canberra Olympic striker knows the size of the task at hand.
Olympic have played just one intra-club match since their quarter-final win over Green Gully last month, and will play a friendly against Canberra United’s Academy on Thursday night in their last hit-out before taking on the Sky Blues.
“Everyone you see in the street who’s a football person is wishing us luck and around the club everyone is excited,” Bernabo-Madrid told www.theffacup.com.au on Thursday.
“It’s definitely the biggest game in the club’s history. It’s kind of surreal. We haven’t really come to terms with it yet.
“Everyone’s training hard and excited to be a part of it. We just can’t wait for Wednesday night.”
Bernabo-Madrid is a huge Western Sydney Wanderers fan and attended last Saturday night’s derby at ANZ Stadium.
It was a painful experience for the 24-year-old, as the Sky Blues cruised to a big 4-0 win.
But it gave him a chance to get a close-up look at the at the size of the challenge facing Olympic on Wednesday.
While aware it will take something special, he knows nothing is impossible and hopes to inflict some retribution on them for the sake of his favourite A-League club.
“I don’t think many times a fan of a club gets a chance to get some revenge. It gives you a bit of an incentive because [the derby] was pretty painful,” Bernabo-Madrid said.
“We know where we stand. We know [Sydney FC] are professionals and we’re not but the longer we can go without conceding and if our concentration levels are high, you never know,” he added.
“We’ve seen it a couple of times this season with Green Gully and Redlands beating the A-League teams so you just never know.
“Just to get a goal against them would be probably the highlight of my career.”
The clash also represents a reunion of sorts for Bernabo-Madrid and Sky Blues boss Arnold.
The classy striker trained under the veteran coach during a trial at the Mariners in late 2012, when Arnold was in charge of the Central Coast.
“I don’t know if he’d remember me. He’s come across that many players in his time,” Bernabo-Madrid said.
“I had the chance to train under him for a few weeks which was awesome. It was a really good experience. I trialled with the first team first and then went with the youth team after that. I was with them for about a month.
“Unfortunately it just didn’t work out and I came back to Canberra. But all up it was a good couple of months.”