Magic of the FFA Cup
Wednesday, 2 July 2014 - Iain Strachan
The draw for the inaugural edition of the new nationwide knockout competition created plenty of buzz, raising the prospect of giant-killings and memorable upsets.
We all love finding out who our team are going to play in a big competition, until the Socceroos are pitted against three of the best teams in the world that is.
Football fans raised in England will have fond memories of the excitement generated by the draw for the third round of the FA Cup, an event which still raises the pulse despite the best efforts of commercialisation, homogenisation and saturation seeking to suck the life out of the modern game.
When the big boys enter the tournament and the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal are dispatched to unknown outposts and far-flung reaches of non-league football, we are afforded brief glimpses of the innocence and romance of a bygone era.
Taking their cue from the oldest cup competition, Football Federation Australia got it right on Friday, avoiding the self-congratulatory pageantry of an equivalent FIFA World Cup or UEFA Champions League event.
No long speeches or video montages, no cavalcade of non-football celebrities. Just one broadcaster, two ex-players and a clutch of numbered balls. It's only a shame they didn't commission a green and gold velvet bag for Mile Sterjovski and Paul Okon to delve into.
A few observers have questioned the decision to strategically seed A-League clubs, but it will be a few years yet before an entirely open draw is viable. Having the final four from last season's top flight semi-finals certainly appears a good move, with South Coast Wolves, Adelaide City, Sterling Lions and Bayswater City already counting down the days to what will be one of the biggest games in their respective recent histories.
The players certainly appear to have embraced the concept, with Brisbane Roar fullback Ivan Franjic expressing his approval.
Perth Glory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic is also onboard ahead of his team's first match away to the Newcastle Jets.
Supporters and players throughout the country can now dream of knocking out one of the heavyweights or embarking on a fairytale run to the final.
The draw has reinforced the potential for the FFA Cup to bring the distinct tiers of Australian football closer together, offering young minnows and the stalwarts of 'old soccer' alike a route back into the national public consciousness.
That's something that should only benefit the game as it continues to grow in the years ahead and we can't wait for the journey to begin.
For the full Westfield FFA Cup draw with times and dates, tap here.