Day 1 of the Kanga Cup
Eagles hoping to soar at Kanga Cup
By Madeline Bonfini
The North Bundaberg Eagles and their coach Jim Carney have been together for approximately seven years. This year is their first year at Kanga Cup however, they have participated in the Gold Coast Champions Youth Cup in previous years. Currently, they are top of their ladder in their competition back home and they look forward to improving their skills and participating in the Kanga Cup over the course of the week.
Their sportsmanship is outstanding and the way they hold themselves together as a team is pleasant to see. They are very supportive of each other and communicate effectively especially in their defence line.
Their favourite part of their trip to Canberra so far has been visiting the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) the team thought it was a great facility and were very impressed. They are looking forward to the upcoming Kanga Cup events such as the disco and football match between the Newcastle Jets and Canberra Rockets. Other activities that they have planned are visiting some of Canberra’s popular landmarks such as the War Memorial and after the tournament they hope to travel to the snow for the first time. A majority of the team have never seen snow before so the trip to the snow is sure to top off a great week of football in Canberra.
The North Bundaberg Eagles are already looking forward to returning to Canberra for next year’s Kanga Cup.
Meanwhile, their opponents, the under 14 male team from Imran Soccer Academy in Indonesia are certainly an entertaining team to watch. The skill level and energy put into their game is impressive but most of all you can see that they thoroughly enjoy their football. As competitive as they are, they still manage to make their experience a fun one despite the Canberra cold!
The team is incredibly supportive of each other shouting words of encouragement from the sideline throughout the game. Every goal scored is a celebration for them. Their enthusiasm is incredible, the players on the sidelines jump up and down with excitement and cheer as loud as they can for their team.
It is currently school holidays in Indonesia and the boys from Imran Soccer Academy believe that coming to Australia for the Kanga Cup is a really fun way to spend their holidays. So far they have enjoyed themselves and look forward to the end of the tournament where they will have two days off for some down time and sightseeing around Canberra before heading back home to Indonesia.
Thunder may boast the new Ellyse Perry
By Tim Foran
As the Maccabi Thunder under-12 female team lined up for their Kanga Cup against Belnorth United, they could have been forgiven for thinking they were in the wrong age group. The Belnorth girls towered over the shorter, but equally skilled Maccabi girls and used their physicality to dominate the match.
Despite the current bunch of under-12’s not having played a single game in a Kanga Cup tournament before being outmuscled on the ball numerous times, they didn’t give up, not even when the score had reached double figures. Instead the girls dug in and put in a performance that they can be proud off.
One player who embodies this type of mentally is Jess Curtins who plays for Maccabi Thunder. Despite only being small in height compared to the rest of the girls, Jess was everywhere making tackles and making runs with the ball and taking on girls more than half her size.
Much like Ellyse Perry, Jess not only plays football but is also skilled in other sports such as tennis having only just been in Canberra six weeks ago for a tennis tournament as well as playing volleyball and netball for the school.
Jess’s desire and passion for sport are also there for everyone to see once she steps on the field and is also evident for everyone off the field due to her large participation in other various sports. It is also her love for playing with friends and just the opportunity to play sport more than once a week that show how committed she is to all her chosen sports.
With Ellyse Perry set to leave Canberra United maybe Jess may be getting a call up in the near future sometime. Australia may have just found its new Ellyse Perry.
Sweet As For Illaroo
By Tim Foran
Playing in the colours of famous Italian football club Inter Milan, IIaroo FC U/10s played their first ever Kanga Cup match against Brindabella Blues with amazing results winning 7-0. Having never entered in the Kanga Cup before, the club wasn’t sure what to expect coming into their first match. However no one expected such a performance full of flowing football and tremendous teamwork.
Coach Haydn Evans was so pleased with his team at half time that he almost didn’t know what to say. “I love when you guys play so well because I don’t have to say anything,” was vans’ only comment.
It was no surprise IIaroo FC put in such a good performance with players such as danger front man Jack Walsh, pocket rocket and Man of the Match Saxton Kennedy, defensive rock Freddy Robson and the two pacey wide men in Jarred Robson and Toley Dennis whose rampages down the wing were a constant feature of the game.
However the real story of the day belonged to Troy and Jack Sweet. Dubbed the Sweet Boys, the two twins share a telepathic connection on and off the field with Troy scoring two goals and Jack scoring another. But it was their instinctive runs off one another that really caught the eye of nearby spectators with Jack constantly playing the ball into space for Troy to seemingly appear out of thin air, collect the ball and then proceed to score followed by IIaroo supports cheering “what a sweet goal”.
Both boys enjoy playing in the same team with Jack providing the assists and Troy providing an uncanny knack for putting the ball in the back of the net.
There is hope among the club that the Sweet Boys and the rest of the team can stick together and eventually play together in the senior team for IIaroo FC. Who knows? We may even be hearing football commentators on the TV in years to come yelling “And it’s another sweet, sweet goal from the Sweet Boys”!
Lions prove too strong for Streetcats
By Russ Gibbs
The Leichhardt Lions from Cairns in Far North Queensland had two new experiences as the Kanga Cup kicked off on Monday as they battled the weather as well as their overseas opponents, the Pinoy Football Streetcats from the Philippines. The team, usually used to playing in baking sunshine had a rough introduction to the harsh realities of a Canberra winter upon their arrival.
“We had a game on Friday night against Capital FC and there was ice as it was zero degrees or below so that was a good test of the cold weather,” Coach Stacey Fidoc said. “This is completely different for us coming from Far North Queensland where it is tropical and sunny and about 25 degrees today. It was good that we got down a couple of days earlier to get used to the climate and as long as the rain stays away and it stays like this we will be okay!”
The weather on Monday’s opening fixture couldn’t have been more different however as the sun blazed down on Dickson Oval.
“It’s fantastic it’s a great start and the weather has been brilliant for us so far! We expected it to be a little cooler than this really! It’s a fantastic thrill for the kids to be able to play the overseas teams. They have been really looking forward to playing the Philippines team first up and it was great as it adds to the excitement and the experience of the competition.”
The football isn’t the only thing that the Lions are looking forward to during their stay in Canberra. “We are going to try and get involved in as many of the tings as we can like the discos and the events where we get to meet the teams from overseas and other states,” Fidoc continued. “The things that are important are those that are all about the experiences of meeting all the different teams from different areas and overseas. That’s what we are here for.
And the coach’s comments are something that was echoed by Lions player Zach Sultana. “It’s a bit cold but it’s good. Playing all the other teams and meeting new people is great! They were good, but we were better!” Sultana said.
Cougars show Kanga Cup spirit
By Jordan Mulach
The Colo Cougars Soccer Club Girls under-12 team certainly got off to a flier early this week in the Kanga Cup with a convincing display in their opener against Belsouth at the University of Canberra, but it’s unsurprising given the history behind one of New South Wales most historic clubs.
Based in Colo, New South Wales, the Cougars are the largest and most respected football club in the Hawkesbury district. A part of the Nepean District Soccer Football Association, it is one of the largest clubs in the area with over 820 players registered. They were the first club in the Nepean district to be incorporated and continue to develop every year.
The co-coaches of the Colo Cougars under 12 Girls team, Gary Bell and Josh Turner, were very enthusiastic about the Kanga Cup.
“So far I think it’s a fantastic experience for the kids,” said Bell. “I’ve been down before and watched some games and I think it’s an awesome setup. If we keep going like this, we’ll certainly be back again. I think the organisation is really good so I don’t see why not. It’s all about the fun and the experience that we’ve come down for. It’s the girls’ first time that they’ve been to a thing like this so it really is just for them to enjoy. Obviously, having a couple of wins would be a bonus but even if we lose that would still be fine because we were able to come to the Kanga Cup.”
Watching the Cougars play, they seem strong on the field and show a strong sense of team spirit which bodes well for their success in this year’s competition.
Skillaroos look the part on Opening Day
By Madeline Bonfini
The Capital Football Skillaroos (Under 14 Males), Who are based in Canberra and coached by Marcial Munoz, have been together for approximately six months. The Kanga Cup is the first tournament away from their usual competition that they have played together.
They are a part of a Football Federation Australia ‘Skill Acquisition’ program which aims to prepare younger players for playing at an elite level. The best of the best players in their age group and in the ACT region are scouted by Munoz himself and invited to join the team. If they accept the offer they receive a scholarship. This program is completely sponsored by the Football Federation Australia and it is evident that each and every player has worked hard to earn their place in the team. It not only turns these boys into high-quality footballers, it educates them to be good sportsmen and show good sportsmanship on and off the field.
“These boys are the pinnacle of their age group says coach Marcial Munoz. “They are very technical players, very smart players.” The squad is playing a year level up and some of the players in this squad are playing 2 years up which is definitely a huge achievement on their part to be at such a high level so early on.
The Skillaroos will be preparing for a National competition which will be held in the Gold Coast later this year. They will be looking into a few other tournaments which will help them to build up their skill level and get them the experience that they need in order to succeed later on at an elite level.