The Central Coast Mariners are the current whipping boys of the A-League.
A number of young Australian players from African backgrounds have been standout performers in recent times, winning praise from fans and the attention of commentators and national coaching staff.
Sunday’s A-League match between Central Coast Mariners and Perth Glory may have just revealed another young star in the making.
Coming on late in a match that featured few attempts on goal, Alou Kuol rapidly made himself a threat by getting into dangerous positions and making good runs. He almost scored from a backheel close to goal but was only narrowly stopped by a defender. Whether he meant it or not, he was certainly a threat and made his presence felt.
But this shouldn’t be a surprise given his record.
He scored 20 goals in 12 matches with the under-20s side for the Goulburn Valley Suns, he was the Golden Boot winner in Victoria NPL 2 East in 2018 with 22 goals in 26 games and he netted six goals from six matches for the Mariners National Youth League squad. He also scored a hat-trick against Broadmeadow Magic and bagged a four-goal half against the Newcastle Jets in the NPL2 NSW, although unfortunately I can’t find his total scores for the season.
As you can see, he is a prolific goal scorer with a striker’s instinct.
In the few minutes that he was on he reminded me of players like Awer Mabil, Al Hassan Toure and his brother Mohamed Toure. As it turns out, Alou Kuol isn’t alone in his family when it comes to talent. All of his younger brothers have been top scorers in their respective age groups. It’s an interesting similarity they share with the better-known Toure brothers. If the Kuols turn out to be a similar production line of talent, we can’t afford to lose them to South Sudan.
The South Sudanese have great interest in the refugee community in Australia and even selected 12 Australian-based players for their Africa Cup of Nations squad earlier this year. The list featured players from a number of state leagues but also included Kenny Athiu from Melbourne Victory as well as Abraham Majok and Ruon Tongyik, both from the Mariners.
In the brief time he was on the pitch Alou Kuol brought a sense of energy and attacking spirit to the match, which that seemed to have the effect on lifting his teammates.
I’d like to see him get a place in the national starting line-up. He will certainly be on the radar for South Sudan, who will no doubt be watching his progress closely, but for that reason he should also be in the sights of Graham Arnold too.
I hope he can match someone like Awer Mabil or the two Toure brothers. He looks like he has something exciting to offer that we haven’t fully seen yet. If you put the four of them together, they might be rather good.
It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if we see Kuol next year in the Olyroos squad. But in the meantime we’ll just have to see how he goes in the A-League, and hopefully he’ll make the most of the opportunity and put himself in the shop window.
He’s certainly a player worth watching.