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How will FFA fill Western Sydney's player void?

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is presented a football by Football Federation Australia chief executive Ben Buckley. AAP Image/Paul Miller
Roar Guru
4th April, 2012
48
2109 Reads

Now Western Sydney has an A-League club, they also need a team. Next season’s starting date of October is fast approaching and many clubs will commence their full pre-seasons just weeks from now.

There is an extraordinarily limited amount of time for a competitive squad to be put together.

This urgency is compounded by the location of the A-League’s second Sydney team.

While the quality of a playing roster is important to any new club, due to Western Sydney’s savvy football community, it will be utterly crucial to the traction this new venture can muster.

The A-League’s newest club will need a football department that can clearly convey that they are ambitious, not just in terms of results but the way in which they achieve them.

It’s not all doom and gloom however, and as PFA Chief Executive Brendan Schwab explained yesterday, the setup of the A-League “will help the club quickly build a competitive team.”

Take a brief look across the ten A-League squads from this season and there is a reasonable amount of quality coming out of contract.

First of all the core of the Western Sydney team is likely to include a significant number of former Gold Coast United players, with so many looking for a new home.

FFA owns the contracts of four United players. Others available include the likes of Michael Thwaite, Joel Porter, Gol Gol Mebranthu, Tahj Minniecon, Dylan MacAllister, Maceo Rigters, and Ante Rozic (a Bankstown local).

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Across the rest of the competition, players who are either coming out of contract or could potentially be made available by their club include, Henrique, Mohamed Adnan, Issey Nakajima Farran, Ante Covic, Carlos Hernandez, Ubay Luzardo, Bruno Cazarine, Kasey Wehrman, Chris Payne, Michael Beauchamp, Alex Terra, Stuart Musialik, Evgeniy Levchenko and Patrick Zwaanswijk.

FFA should do everything they can in the short-term to try and attract Carlos Hernandez, who is the exact type of player whose presence would resonate with fans in Western Sydney.

The biggest potential signing of all though would be Melbourne Victory’s superstar striker and Western Sydney local Harry Kewell.

No matter how remote a possibility, it’s an avenue that needs to be looked into.

There is also the option to approach a number of Australians playing abroad, with the likes of Carl Valeri and Scott Chipperfield approaching crucial junctures where they could potentially be tempted back home.

Clearly there are the foundations for a competitive A-League side out there without even looking into the state leagues.

Despite all the possibilities, the problem for Western is the club are still weeks away, if not more, from making any signings as a coach or putting a football department into place.

In this time every A-League club will be looking to finalise their squads for next season as quickly as possible to protect themselves from being raided by their newest rivals.

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As Bonita Mersiades wrote yesterday, “building a player list is not the same as building, say, a Westfield shopping centre”. Western Sydney is going to have their work cut out for them.

A potential Western Sydney side might look like this.
GK: Covic
D: Thwaite, Zwaanswijk, Adnan, Rozic
DM: Levchenko
M: Henrique, Wehrman, Hernandez, Minniecon
S: Cazarine
Subs: Porter, Beauchamp, Halloran, Musialik