The inaugural FFA Cup - Australia’s national football knockout competition - kicks off on Tuesday
CUP magic finally arrives in Australia on Tuesday night when the much anticipated national knockout competition kicks off.
Former National Soccer League champions Brisbane Strikers and Newcastle outfit Broadmeadow Magic have the honour of being the competition’s first televised clash, live on Fox Sports 3 HD from 7pm EST.
The round of 32 features a genuine cross section of the Australian football community: A-League clubs, NSL winners, fallen champions, part-timers, amateurs and professionals from leagues across the country.
As A-League clubs trade Suncorp Stadium, Allianz Stadium and AAMI Park for the smell of the sausage sizzle and bobbly surfaces at local grounds across the country, here’s everything you need to know about the return of Australia’s Cup competition, with coverage on the opening night on Fox Sports 3 from 7pm EST, kick-off at 7.30pm.
Fox Sports will bring you exclusive coverage of the Strikers v Magic clash, with cameras stationed at the other three matches to bring you all the key moments.
You can also keep in touch with the action in our live online blog, which will bring you live updates, pictures, videos and social media insight across all four clashes.
WHAT IS IT
For the first time since 1968, there’s a national knockout competition in Australia to supplement the main A-League action, while also linking the disparate branches of the sport across the member states. It’s a link between past and present, elite and amateur, grassroots and professional.
631 semi-professional and amateur clubs began the journey to qualify for the final 32 in various state-based knockout competitions across the country.
The final 32 comprises the 10 A-League clubs, plus 22 outfits from the member federations across various tiers of football from Capital Football in the ACT (one spot), Football NSW (seven spots), Northern NSW Football (two spots), Football Queensland (four spots), Football Federation South Australia (one spot), Football Federation Tasmania (one spot), Football Federation Victoria (four spots) and Football West (two spots).
There are nine former National Soccer League clubs - Adelaide City, Blacktown City, Brisbane Strikers, South Coast Wolves, Sydney Olympic, Sydney United, Hakoah Sydney City, Melbourne Knights and Parramatta FC.
MEET THE MINNOWS
For a taste of the vast gap between the A-League clubs and some of those in the competition, take a look at the draw’s two genuine minnows: South Springvale, from State League 1 South-East in Victoria, and Hakoah Sydney City, from State League 1 in NSW, the third tier of football in those states.
In a lovely irony for the return of knockout football, Hakoah Sydney City was the last club to win a national knockout competition, then the Australian Cup, in 1968.
HOW IT WORKS
There are five matchdays in the round of 32, with four games per night for the next three Tuesdays, with the fixtures concluding on Wednesday 20 August.
Another draw will take place for the round of 16, which kicks off on Tuesday 16 September, and the pots are constructed to ensure at least one non A-League club will make it into the semi-finals.
The competition wraps up with the decider on Tuesday 16 December.
DAVID v GOLIATH
In the round of 32 draw, there are three all A-League games (Melbourne City v Sydney FC, Adelaide United v Wellington Phoenix and Newcastle Jets v Perth Glory).
But the four A-League semi-finalists from last season will be heading back to grassroots football, travelling to local pitches across the country as the FFA Cup looks for a boilover of the highest order.
It kicks off with Western Sydney Wanderers – which also has the Asian Champions League tie on 20 August to contend with - travelling to Adelaide City on 12 August, with Brisbane Roar heading to Perth to face Stirling Lions on 19 August and Central Coast Mariners drawn to face South Coast Wolves in Wollongong, with Melbourne Victory against Bayswater City in Western Australia on 20 August.
Broadmeadow Magic versus Brisbane Strikers
Venue: Magic Park, Broadmeadow, Newcastle
Broadmeadow sits seventh in the NNSW NPL, but comes into this headline clash off the back of a confidence boosting win over Lake Macquarie City. Strikers, a former NSL club which won the 1997 grand final in front of 40,000 at Lang Park against Sydney United, sits third in the Queensland NPL and travel to Newcastle.
Broadmeadow Magic squad: 1.Christopher BOWLING (GK), 2.Alexander KANTAROVSKI, 3.Joshua PIDDINGTON, 4.Benjamin HIGGINS, 5.Luke VIRGILI, 6.Daniel CASCIAROLI, 7.Hakan CANLI, 8.Matthew PAUL, 9.Peter HAYNES, 10.Christopher BERLIN, 11.Rhys TIPPETT, 12.Owen LITTLEWOOD, 13.Matthew HOOLE, 14.Jon GRIFFITHS, 15.Paul SICHALWE, 16.Callan LEWIS, 17.Lawrence FOTEFF, 18.Murray FLETCHER, 19.Anthony KONJARSKI, 20.Scott PETTIT, 22.Bradley MACKENZIE (GK), 66.Adam PEARCE (GK)
Brisbane Strikers squad: 1.Michael TURNBULL (GK), 2. Christopher MAHER, 3. Alexander SCHIAVO, 4. David SALIN, 5. Scot COULSON, 6. Daniel PARTRIDGE, 7.Keenan DUIMPIES, 8. Michael ANGUS, 9. Bradley SAVAGE, 10. Kalen FISHER-SMITH, 11. Jonathan RICHTER, 12. Greg KING, 13. Joshua ANDERSON, 14. Joshua MCVEY, 16. Joshua TAYLOR, 17. Jackson HALL, 18. Matthew THURTELL, 19. Jheison MACUACE, 20. Jacob JARRATT (GK), 30. David CHAMBERS (GK)
South Springvale versus South Cardiff Gunners
Venue: Kingston Heath Soccer Complex, Cheltenham, Melbourne
Plumbers, uni students, lanscapers - add a group of part timers together and you get the South Springvale outfit, dreaming of Cup magic when it hosts South Cardiff Gunners from Newcastle. The minnows, whose highest profile player is former Victory player 32-year-old Ricky Diaco - have already knocked out two Victorian NPL clubs on the way to a shock spot in the final 32. The NNSW outfit heads to Melbourne sitting eighth in the NPL NNSW, but like Broadmeadow, head in off a win, 2-1 over Lambton Jaffas.
South Springvale squad: 1.Rani DOWISHA (GK), 2.Keiran FITZGERALD, 3.Ricky DIACO, 5.Andrew SKLEDAR, 6.Darragh RYAN, 7.Alexandru FLOREA, 8.Craig METCALFE, 9.Damian IACONIS, 10.Dean PANAGOPOULOS, 11.Ali HAMEED, 14.Courail NASSIM, 15.Thomas BROOKS, 16.Billy DAMIANOS, 17.Konstantinos DASKALAKIS, 18.Sotiros DIMITRAKOPOULOS, 19.Colm O’TOOLE, 20.Anstidis DRAKOS, 21.Jordan GIFKINS (GK), 22.Nicholas KATSAMBOUKAS, 23.Luke BURGESS
South Cardiff squad: 1.Michael STAFFORD (GK), 2.Nathan STEVENS, 3.Cameron HERRING, 4.Mathew GREY, 5.Mathew DARR, 6.Ashley BALCOMBE, 7.Chris GAZZARD, 8.James BYRNES, 9.Lee ASHTON, 10.Mitchell WALLACE, 11.Jarryd JOHNSON, 12.Daniel JOHNSON, 13.Dean KELLEY, 14.Sean CLERKE, 15.Mathew WILESMITH, 16.Thomas PULLIN (GK), 17.Samuel PARKER, 18.Guy WAHLSTEDT, 19.Luke COOK, 20.Nicholas FRIEND
Olympic FC versus Melbourne Knights
Venue: Goodwin Park, Yeronga, Brisbane
This should be a really tasty match between two top tier sides from Queensland and Victoria. Olympic sits second on the NPL Queensland table and enter after a 5-1 win over Moreton Bay. Knights, which won the NSL grand final in 1995 and 1996, is currently eighth in Victoria’s top flight.
Olympic FC squad: 1.Brandon CUMINAO (GK), 3.James CUMINAO, 4.Matthew BYRNE, 5.Kazuya ITO, 6.Matthew MUNDY, 7.Daniel CRACK, 8.Tim SMITS, 10.Daniel BYRNE, 11.Reuben WAY, 12.Sanjeev HENNY, 13.Darren GRAY, 14.Terry HUGHES, 15.Mark FISK, 16.Mustafa JAFARI, 17.Luke HOWELL, 18.Jacob MCLEAN, 19.Nicholas EFSTATHIS, 20.Shannon LANCINI (GK), 23.Matthew LUGO (GK), 24.Ryan MESKELL (GK)
Melbourne Knights squad: 1.Christopher MAY (GK), 2.Michael SIMMS, 3.Samuel TORRENS, 4.Milan BATUR, 6.Tomislav USKOK, 7.Daniel VISEVIC, 8.Leo ATHANASIOU, 9.Stipo ANDRIJASEVIC, 10.Marijan CVITKOVIC, 11.Jordan O’DOHERTY, 12.Ivan GRGIC, 13.Antun KOVACIC, 14.Nikola SRBINOVSKI, 15.Anthony DUZEL, 17.Joseph MONEK, 18.Christopher STEFANI, 19.Shayan ALINEJAD, 21.Luke JURIC, 25.Michael O’FARRELL (GK)
Manly United versus Sydney Olympic
Venue: Cromer Park, Dee Why, Sydney
A NSW NPL derby between two teams, with a rich football history in this country, that know eachother well. Manly, down in 11th spot, qualified via NSW’s Waratah Cup knockout competition, where they lost to Blacktown in the final. Olympic, sixth in the NSW NPL, has former Adelaide United player Evan Kostopoulos on its books. Others to watch include Manly’s former A-League striker Chris Payne and Olympic’s Japanese imports Go Shirai and Taiga Soeda.
Manly United squad: 1.Dylan MITCHELL (GK), 2.Jimmy OATES, 3.Leigh EGGER, 4.Graeme FORBES, 5.Joshua LAWSON, 6.Joshua WARD, 7.Scott BALDERSON, 8.Daniel GRANT, 9.Chris PAYNE, 10.Brendan CHOLAKIAN, 11.Roberto SPERANZA, 12.Dominic FERGUSON, 15.Rhys WILLIAMS, 19.Daniel SARIC, 20.Tonu LIIBAND (GK), 21.Patrick WEIR, 22.Jack GREEN, 31.Dylan WHITLOCK
Sydney Olympic squad: 1.Paul HENDERSON (GK), 2.Brayden SORGE, 3.Troy DANASKOS, 4.Brendan HOOPER, 5.Bradley TRELOAR, 6.Ryan KEIR, 7.William ANGEL, 8.Christopher GODOY BASCUR, 9.Dimitri HATZIMOURATIS, 10.Harris GAITATZIS, 11.Chris FERLES (GK), 12.Kresmir KARDUM, 14.Peter MARKOVIC, 15.Yianni SPYRAKIS, 18.Taiga SOEDA, 19.Go SHIRAI, 23.Evan KOSTOPOULOS, 33.Christos TOMARAS, 45.Nikolas TSATTALIOS, 111.Nicholas SORRAS (GK)
FOX SPORTS OPENING DAY COVERAGE
Simon Hill and Gary Phillips will call all the action from Magic Park in Broadmeadow, while Mike Cockerill (Manly United v Sydney Olympic), Adam Peacock (South Springvale v South Cardiff) and Nick Meredith (Olympic FC v Melbourne Knights) will be on deck for the key moments from the other three clashes.