Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has called on the Premier League to explain the reasons for approving the buyout of Newcastle by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund amid human rights concerns in the kingdom.
In the NSW bracket of the FFA Cup round of 32, the A-League’s Sydney FC will face a blast from the past in the form of one of the NSL’s best teams, Sydney Olympic.
Sydney Olympic was founded in 1957 by Greek immigrants.
They are one of the most successful clubs during the NSL era of Australian football. Their trophy case during this period entailed two NSL titles and two NSL cups as well as being runners up on multiple occasions in both competitions.
The club play out of one of the best stadiums in Sydney, the Belmore Sports Ground, and they have the finances to be one of the first clubs to take part in the inaugural A-League national second division when it’s announced.
Olympic has been a long-time supplier of players for the NSL, A-League and international teams.
In a very tight NSW NPL this season, they are preciously perched in position five. A win could see them go as high as third and a loss as low as eighth.
They have the second best defence in the division, conceding only 19 goals in 17 games. By comparison the team leading the competition, Blacktown City, have only let in 17.
But it is at the other end of the park where they are struggling, scoring only 22 goals so far, which is the fourth lowest in the league.
Club coach Ante Juric has been left scratching his head trying to figure out why his talented group of players has been misfiring in the NSW NPL this season.
No one predicted Olympic to win the league, but to be 12 points behind with this much quality is a real concern. Luckily for Juric the FFA Cup form has been excellent.
However, the squad has recently seen a raft of departures.
Mohamed Adam, Fabian Monge and Matthew Scarcella have all left the club mid-season to join Greek second division side Xanthi FC, which is coincidentally owned by former Olympic president Bill Papas.
The loss of leading goal scorer Adam is a big blow, as the talented youngster has found his love of football again after sensationally quitting the Western Sydney Wanderers to focus on his studies.
Even with the departure of those three players, there is still an incredible number of players with first- and youth-team A-League experience.
On the right wing there is former Chelsea trainee Fabio Ferreira, who has represented four different A-League clubs, and on the left wing there is Oliver Puflett, who was a previous Western Sydney Wanderers player.
Cental midfielder Hansi Gligor and goalkeeper Nicholas Sorras have played for two A-League clubs while defenders Nicola Kuleski, Michael Glassock and Marley Peterson have one A-League club on their CVs.
Former Sydney FC youth player Jason Madonis is the real heart of soul of Sydney Olympic. He has been around the club since he was a young teenager and now has spent more than ten years playing for Olympic.
Then there are the enigmatic talents of the club’s new number ten. Season after season there has been a debate within the NSW NPL and throughout all of Australia as to who the best attacking midfielder is. One name that is always mentioned in that conversation is the number ten Brendan Cholakian.
He spent several years with Manly United prior to making the much-heralded move to Sydney Olympic, where he has been able to showcase his full repertoire of attacking skills.
However, for a player with this much quality on the ball, he has had very little interest from A-League clubs possibly due to his fiery side, which has seen him handed several yellow cards this season already.
Sydney Olympic have quality all over the park, but if they don’t fix their central striker problem their high-scoring 2021 FFA Cup preliminary-round exploits will end against the might of Sydney FC.