A-League champions Brisbane Roar are up against Stirling Lions, while Bayswater City will host Melbourne Victory in the FFA Cup’s round of 32.
The barista, the boilermaker and no shortage of playmakers will confront A-League powerhouse Brisbane Roar when they tackle amateur outfit Stirling Lions in the FFA Cup.
Football Federation Australia’s new knockout competition was designed to offer so-called minnows the chance to amaze.
In Friday’s round-of-32 draw it was Perth club Stirling given the sternest test – the reigning A-League premiers and champions headlined by Socceroos midfielder Matt McKay.
“I’m calling it their World Cup,” Stirling football manager Don Evans said of the game.
“It’s their chance to shine against the best team in Australia.
“Today’s one of the best days of my life and the greatest day our football club has ever had.”
Stirling pays its players a weekly wage of $50-400 during the season.
Outside that they’ve got full-time jobs. Soccer is a pastime, not a profession.
“They train twice a week. No doubt they’ll put on a few more sessions to make sure they’re up to scratch for the Roar,” Evans said.
Captain Andy Brown, who in the words of Evans “works in the steel industry and is made of steel”, marshals the Lions’ defence.
Phil Arnold scores goals and runs a cafe, while goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski was on the books of two A-League clubs but is now in management at a cleaning company.
Many of the Stirling squad have been part of Perth Glory’s youth team – including Evans’ son Dean.
“They play good attacking football. It definitely won’t be a nil-all draw,” Evans predicted.
Beyond the boilover of all boilovers, Evans’ main hope is the spotlight results in some A-League scouts paying further attention to his players.
The venue for the game will be Macedonia Park, whose future went to a vote at an AGM of WA’s Macedonian Community in 2006.
“This place was too good to sell off and chop up for developers,” Evans recalled of the fight for its future.
Now the battle will be getting everything cherry ripe for the occasion, which Evans hopes will attract a record crowd of over 6000.
“It’s going to be all hands on deck,” Evans said.
The other early FFA Cup mismatches pit South Coast Wolves against Central Coast Mariners, while Adelaide City host Western Sydney Wanderers.
Another Perth club, the Chris Coyne-coached Bayswater City, will take on Melbourne Victory.
The remaining 18 non-professional clubs were in a separate pot and will not confront A-League sides in the round of 32.
FFA will confirm dates and venues of games on Monday.