While the competition hasn’t been officially launched as yet, the word has been put out that later this year the inaugural FFA cup will start. With that in mind, all of the regional cups in the local state leagues will start in the coming weeks. For instance the first round of Brisbane’s Canale Cup kicks off in mid February and the rest of the state cups will do likewise.
Here’s rounds 1 and 2 of the 2014 Canale Cup:
This offcourse feeds into the FFA Cup later in the year, and today Rob Greenwood of the Advertiser provided further details on the competition from that stage. The competition will be a 32 team knockout cup featuring:
– The 9 Australian A-League clubs
– 8 New South Wales Clubs
– 4 Victorian Clubs
– 4 Queensland Clubs
– 2 West Australia Clubs
– 2 Northern NSW Clubs
– 1 South Australian Club
– 1 Tasmanian Club
– 1 ACT Club
That seems to be a bit of overkill with 8 clubs from the NSW Premier League, however it will be good to have the cup up and running regardless. The decision was apparently made on the basis of number of registered players in each state, where NSW has a clear advantage. The competition is expected to start in the A-League pre-season, sometime in late July/ early August with the final to be held on Australia Day.
Queensland’s 4 representatives will be made up of the Canale Cup finalists, and as such the 6 NPL Queensland clubs based in Brisbane –Olympic FC, Brisbane Strikers, Brisbane City, Redlands United, Moreton Bay United and Western Pride (I assume it’s not QAS) will feature in the cup in future rounds.
Brisbane Roar have this week entered the NPL Queensland, with the youth team playing in the senior men’s competition, and the W-League side will play in the u-16 boys competition. The squads will be coached by regular coaches Jeff Hopkins and Belinda Wilson. The W-League girls will start their competition in February, while the Youth team will join the NPL Queensland when the competition starts in March.
Results are offcourse the main aim in a competitive game, but to play against senior players will be an important step in their development. The other big benefit for the youth team will be playing football all year round in the Brisbane Roar system which should in turn make them better players and much more familiar with the way of play. It’s also a good thing for the women who will get the same benefits, and it would also keep them fit for the upcoming Matildas fixtures, although I would have thought that playing in a women’s competition would have been better.
For the club itself, there are a bunch of spin off benefits, including the ability to scout players for the youth league set-up when they play against various sides. It could also provide an opportunity to bring players in on a trial basis to assess their abilities for either the first team or the youth squad. Infact we may have seen the first signs of that this week with the reported signing of Indonesian striker Yandi Sofyan. It could even be that at certain times of the year, some younger first teamers will feature in the competition. All up I think a lot of people are looking forward to the possibility to follow Brisbane all season long and it should provide a massive boost to the competition, especially at the Brisbane games. We’ll offcourse bring you the latest news and results around the games as Brisbane enter the state wide competition.
By Brian McIver.
First home game of 2013/2014. Walking to the stadium. People are wearing their colours proudly, laughing, and singing. The pubs are loud and the streets are packed. The field is immaculately manicured; the returning members don’t know whether to look at the grass, or try to memorise the way to the seats they will be sitting in for the rest of the season. Later, when the first home goal is scored, people scream, fireworks go off and a huge jet of flame blasts in front of the supporters’ bay.
It’s a new season for the A-league, and the change in the air is palpable. The atmosphere at home games has been absolutely electric; Suncorp stadium lets off fireworks every time the Roar scores, and the fans at Bluetongue have a brass band which adds both a European feel but also a lovely busking vibe.
Australian football now enjoys massive sponsorship, and the level of coverage in the media since even the last season is staggering. Two free to air channels have covered the A league games this year, either as one off events or regular programming. As well, we now have weekly variety shows providing commentary on the round’s matches. And the best thing is that none of them use the dreaded “S” word – which Australia is only just starting to wean itself off using.
We’re well past the stage of having to use foreign marquees to prop up the league, and actually now regularly export Australian trained players to other leagues and teams overseas. Our coaches are now seen as world class and are marketing themselves globally as our players have done. Assistant coaches step up when the head coach moves on, and these new head coaches usually do well.
But every football fan already knows this; we watch the news and know what’s happening. We know our game and our teams.
So what is the long term future of the A league? How big can the league grow in a country of just 20 odd million?
What is most important is how the Australian brand of football develops and defines itself on the global stage. Alongside other styles such as the English long ball game, and the attack heavy South American game, Australian football must rely on and be led by players who have learnt the game here in order to continue our style – counterattacking panache, dominance by possession, and physicality.
Together with the way we play the game, the way we support our teams is just as important. The home supporter bays are regularly full, with the call and respond chants now being sung by the majority of the crowd. But we still have room to grow; watching the home crowds in the AFC is certainly food for thought and definitely played a part in the performance of the A league teams.
But we need to not simply scream and cheer at the games. We need to support the players stepping up from the Youth League. We need to take the time to learn their names, and support them as much as the first team. Every time a Youth player makes their debut, this should be the highlight of the match, as it shows the A league is succeeding and perpetuating itself.
Football Brisbane have today released their goals to improve the local game in Brisbane over the next 3 years, with the ultimate vision of ‘being one of Australia’s leading organisations in delivery and administration of competitions that are regarded as best practice’. There is however no mention of integration with the A-League via the FFA Cup, or the newly formed NPL Queensland. The review focuses in on 8 key areas including the women’s game and futsal, along with the flagship BPL competition. You can see the full thing below, and for those who’d like to download a copy- here’s the link.