Analysis: Popovic’s legacy at Western Sydney Wanderers

Tony Popovic will always be a Western Sydney Wanderers legend – despite the bombshell he dropped announcing today (Sun) he was leaving the club a week before their season opener.

Popovic’s legacy is extraordinary. He is an extraordinary Australian at an extraordinary Aussie sporting success story.

To have won an Asian Champions League final barely two-and-a-half years after forming the club may never ever be achieved by any club in the region. Ever.

Simply put, it was an achievement of epic proportions. It put “Popa” very much on the map as a coach and he’s been fending off big international offers ever since that famous day in Saudi Arabia in November 2014.

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He also won an A-League Championship in his first season (top of the home and away table).

Numerous A-League finals and ACL campaigns adorned his time at Wanderland since they were formed in 2012.

He even took them to a Club World Cup in Africa (though that proved less successful though no less interesting for the players and coach).

What a five years it’s been.

The only pity is Popovic leaves without achieving one major goal – winning the Hyundai A-League Championship.

Tony Popovic has resigned as coach of Western Sydney Wanderers

He’s been close on three occasions.

The irony of course is that the team he’s built this season are, according to many pundits including me, ready and able to finally win a Grand Final.

Popovic never won an FFA Cup Final either. The team are on track for a first ever final appearance too with a semi final later this month.

So, the team that Popa built – or more accurately rebuilt and refocused over time – could finally win on the final day of the season in 2018.

If they do win a grand final, it’ll be done without the man who built the club’s ethos and culture.

It’s a massive loss. But that’s football. Besides, Popa was never going to stay around forever.

It is sad he won’t coach the club at their fabulous new stadium, though I’ve no doubt he’ll be welcomed back at that venue (perhaps the Tony Popovic Stand at the new Wanderland in Parramatta could be his lasting legacy?)

Nothing changes for Popovic

But leaving on the eve of the season will raise eyebrows from their many fans, though I’m sure they’ll be proud their coach has been deemed good enough to enter the cauldron of Turkish football.

And if anyone is prepared for this bold new step, it’ll be Tony Popovic. The master planner, master motivator and potential future Socceroos coach, is set to test his undoubted potential as a coach.

 

Source  :  My Football

Coaching shock: Popovic resigns as Wanderers coach

Western Sydney Wanderers have confirmed that Tony Popovic has resigned as the club’s Hyundai A-League coach, effective immediately.

Popovic has accepted a coaching opportunity in Turkey.

The former Caltex Socceroos defender was the Wanderers inaugural coach in 2012 and led the club to the Hyundai A-League Premiership in their first season.’

The Wanderers qualified for three Grand Finals and won the 2014 Asian Champions League under Popovic’s tutelage.

Popovic said the five seasons he has spent with the Wanderers hold some of his fondest footballing memories.

“Today is a very difficult day to announce my departure from the Western Sydney Wanderers,” Popovic said.

“The timing is not great and you don’t plan these things. It has come up very recently and it is an opportunity to get my foot in the door in Europe.

“To see where the club has grown in five years, I leave with a lot of amazing memories. I’ve got the utmost respect for our Members and fans that have changed the landscape of Australian football.”

Popovic looks on the bright side

Wanderers Chief Executive Officer John Tsatsimas said the legacy Popovic will leave the club cannot be understated.

“Tony has been fundamental to this club’s success and growth since our inception in 2012 and leaves a lasting legacy that this club will use as a platform to continue our rapid growth,” said Tsatsimas.

“He will forever remain a great part of our history, leading us on our course to be globally recognised and respected as a football club.

“While we have always known Tony was destined to have a great future coaching on the global stage, just as he did as a player, we are sure he will look back fondly on his time with the Western Sydney Wanderers with pride in the achievements we have made as a group.”

The club will now expedite its search for a new coach with a number of candidates already identified and a thorough vetting process to take place.

 

Source  :  My Football

Wanderers marquee Riera: ‘I like derbies!’

Oriol Riera is already looking forward to playing in the Sydney Derby.

Western Sydney Wanderers recruit Oriol Riera is already looking forward to the upcoming season’s Sydney Derby and revealed a link with a current Sky Blues star.

Riera made his Wanderers debut off the bench with a 30-minute cameo against Arsenal on Saturday night.

He is the Wanderers’ new marquee striker and hopes to use his experience from the last four years in Spain’s La Liga to help bring success to Western Sydney.

RE-UNITING WITH AN EX-TEAMMATE

Before his stint in La Liga with Deportivo La Coruna and Osasuna, Riera spent two seasons at Spanish second division club AD Alcorcon.

It was their he came across current Sky Blues attacker David Carney, who spent six months at the club in 2011/12.

The pair re-united this week at the official welcome ceremony for Arsenal’s Tour Down Under.

“He’s a good man,” Riera said of Carney.

“We played together maybe six years ago for a few months. He told me a lot about Australia when he came [to Alcorcon].”

Oriol RieraREADY FOR SYDNEY DERBY

Riera has already been briefed on the club’s rivalry with Sydney FC and knows the importance of the fixture to the side and Wanderers fans.

And the 31-year-old won’t have to wait long to get a crack at the Sky Blues, with Sydney’s two fierce rivals going head-to-head at Allianz Stadium in Round 3.

“I like derbies. I played a lot of them in the past,” he said.

“It will be a big game also. Different to [the Arsenal game] but for Australia it’s a big game.

He added: “I’m a striker, I’m a good player and I want to know this football, [the Wanderers] type of football and I hope that I score a lot of goals.”

 

Source  :  Football Federation Australia

Arsenal confirm squad for Sydney FC, Wanderers matches

Arsenal have named a 25-man squad for their tour of Australia.

A star-studded Arsenal squad including the likes of Mezut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and new signing Alexandre Lacazette will make the trip to Australia to face Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers this week.

Arsene Wenger has named a 25-man squad for the Gunners’ two-week tour of Australia and Asia, with the English giants set to land in Sydney on Tuesday morning.

Arsenal face Sydney FC on Thursday (July 13) at ANZ Stadum before tackling the Wanderers on Saturday (July 15) at the same venue.

And Australian fans will see the best of Arsenal with almost all their big guns making the trip.

Most interest will be on new French striker Lacazette, who is likely to make his club debut in Australia after completing a club-record £52m move from Lyon last week.

Other big names include German playmaker Ozil, Welsh wizard Ramsey, French striker Olivier Giroud, England internationals Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck, as well as veteran keeper Petr Cech.

Chile’s Alexis Sanchez and German defender Shkodran Mustafi have been left out after their exertions for their respective countries at the recent FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.

Arsenal’s squad is set to arrive in Australia early on Tuesday, with an official welcome ceremony set down for Tuesday morning at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.

Arsenal’s squad to tour Australia:

Petr Cech (GK), Emi Martinez (GK), David Ospina (GK), Krystian Bielik, Cohen Bramall, Francis Coquelin, Mohamed Elneny, Olivier Giroud, Alex Iwobi, Sead Kolasinac, Laurent Koscielny, Alexandre Lacazette, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Donyell Malen, Per Mertesacker, Nacho Monreal, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck, Joe Willock, Granit Xhaka

 

Source  :  Football Federation Australia

#AFCChampionsLeague2017 preview for Hyundai A-League clubs

Adelaide United's Kim Jae-sun, Wanderers' Terry Antonis and Brisbane Roar's Brandon Borrello.

Monday, 24 April 2017

John Duerden @JohnnyDuerden
The ACL returns this week. How will Roar do in Thailand ahead of Sunday’s blockbuster with Victory in Melbourne? The revitalised Reds and Wanderers are also in action.

Muangthong United vs Brisbane Roar (Wed night)

If there were those in Korea Republic, Japan and Australia who underestimated the Thailand Premier League champions when the draw was made, they are doing so no longer.

With four games of the six down and two to go, Muangthong is top of the group with eight points. A win at their compact stadium will secure a place in the last 16 and even a draw could be enough.

“We know what we have to do,” said Muangthong head coach Totchawan Sripan at the weekend. “We also know that the game will be very difficult and that Brisbane is a good team.”

The Kirins have plenty of talent with a number of stars who play for the Thailand national team. Chanathip Songkrasin gave the Caltex Socceroos some major headaches in Bangkok in November as two nations played out a 2-2 draw in qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Brisbane Roar and Muangthong United played out a 0-0 draw at Brisbane Stadium on Tuesday night.

The diminutive playmaker is off to Japan soon and helping Muangthong to the knockout stage would be a welcome parting gift. There is also sharpshooter Teerasil Dangda and two of the best full-backs in Asia in Tristan Do and Theerathon Bunmathan, who scored a spectacular free-kick on Saturday.

One plus for Brisbane is that influential midfielder Sarach Yooyen is injured and will not play.

That has not been a problem domestically as the champion has won eight and drawn one of the ten games so far, the latest being a slightly disappointing 1-1 draw at Ratchaburi.

The one defeat was inflicted by Buriram United where Muangthong, accustomed to dictating proceedings, were in the unusual position of being put on the backfoot and struggled.

That could provide some encouragement for an experimental Brisbane who have one eye on Sunday’s blockbuster semi final with Victory, and a trip to Thailand these days is a tough ask.

Just ask the national team.

Urawa Reds vs Western Sydney Wanderers (Wed night)

Six points behind with just two games remaining, Western Sydney Wanderers need nothing less than a win but it is not going to be easy. Far from it.

Urawa needs just a draw to be certain of a place in the knockout stage but head coach Mihailo Petrovic said Saturday that he is targeting a win.

The Reds have reason to be confident. There can’t be a tougher assignment in Asia this week than Wanderers’ trip to Saitama Stadium just north of Tokyo.

Urawa is back to the kind of best that took the team to the top of Japanese football in 2006 and a continental title the following year.

The Wanderers' Kearyn Baccus flies high for a header against Urawa on Tuesday night.

Incredibly, neither feat has been repeated but this year could be the one. The Reds are top of the J.League and is on course to win the title that many think it deserved in 2016.

A 3-2 win on Saturday over Consadole Sapporo in front of 37,000 fans was the fifth successive win in all competitions.

In Asia, Urawa has nine points from four games, recovering from the 3-2 loss at Shanghai SIPG on Matchday 3 to defeat the cash rich Chinese club at home last time around.

Yet Urawa, who let a ten point lead at the top of the 2007 J. League slip with five games remaining, will know that it is not over until it is over.

At the very least for the 2014 continental champion, there is the 4-0 home loss in the opening game in February to avenge for coach Tony Popovic and his men.

Not to mention banishing the bitter disappointment last Friday night in Brisbane, when their domestic season ended in heart-breaking circumstances.

Gamba Osaka vs Adelaide United (Tue night)

If the other two games feature Hyundai A-League teams that are at the bottom of their groups travelling to the home of the leaders, this Group H clash is different.

Adelaide looked down and out with just a few minutes remaining in Matchday 3.

A loss at home to Jeju United would have almost certainly spelled the end of their hopes. Yet the Reds fought back to a 3-3 draw and then went to Korea Republic to defeat the islanders on their own soil.

The victory put the team second, level on points with Jeju and one ahead of Gamba. Should Adelaide win in Japan and Jeju lose in China at the already-qualified Jiangsu Suning then the Australians  are through.

Adelaide United and Gamba Osaka players ahead of kick-off in their ACL opener on Wednesday night.

It won’t be easy. Gamba Osaka famously defeated United in the final of the 2008 tournament and after winning 3-0 at the Hindmarsh Stadium in the opening game,will be confident.

More so after a 6-0 thrashing of Omiya Ardija on Friday – giving the hosts an extra rest day – put the Kansai club up into second.

What was impressive was how all six goals came from different players.

Yet Adelaide can’t be written off. With the ACL their only remaining competition to play for, they’ll be refreshed and ready as they finished their domestic season on April 15 after missing out on the Finals Series.

Gamba has lost both home games so far in the group, most notably a 4-1 loss to Jeju and the Reds can have hope of staying in the hunt for the last 16 and also a little revenge for 2008.

Source : Football Federation Australia

Western Sydney Wanderers defender Jack Clisby on his breakout season

Jack Clisby has enjoyed a superb debut season with Western Sydney Wanderers.
Thanks, Popa. That’s the message from Western Sydney Wanderers fullback Jack Clisby ahead of the 2016/17 Hyundai A-League Finals Series.

In his first season under Tony Popovic, the fully committed fullback has played 24 of the Wanderers’ 27 games.

“The coach has believed in me and he’s backed me,” said Clisby as his side began preparations for Friday’s sudden-death clash with Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium.

“I feel like I have developed over the year.

Defence: Jack Clisby (Wanderers)

“I think [I’ve improved] both defensively and offensively and especially fitness-wise.

“I don’t think I could get up and down the line that frequently before.

“A lot of things off the field as well – professionalism, healthy eating – all that good discipline stuff.

“It really does have an effect on your fitness and frame of mind,” he said.

NO ROAR HOODOO FOR WANDERERS

Western Sydney head into Friday’s game on a six-match unbeaten streak.

But they’ve taken just two points from a possible nine this season from the Roar.

“I don’t think there’s particularly any issue,” said Clisby.

Wanderers midfielder Mitch Nichols and Roar defender Luke DeVere were looking to spread the Christmas love in their Rd 12 clash in Brisbane.

“At Spotless Stadium, we thoroughly dominated the game but we were struggling to score goals in that period of the season.

“The two performances away were actually good performances.

“We were unfortunate to lose one of those games in the end.

“Heading into this Friday, we’re ready to take on Brisbane,” warned Clisby.

STOP MACCA, STOP ROAR

The ginger fullback knows he and his fellow defenders will need to be at their best to contain joint Golden Boot winner Jamie Maclaren.

Jamie Maclaren is the April nominee for the Hyundai A-League, NAB Young Footballer of the Year 2016/17 Award.

“We’ve played him a few times this season and we know how he likes to play,” said Clisby.

“Hopefully it’s something we can address in the changing room and make sure we try to limit him as much as possible,” he added.

 

Source : Football Federation Australia

Brendon Santalab has been named Western Sydney Wanderers’ player of the year

Brendon Santalab has been named Western Sydney Wanderers' player of the year.

Striker Brendon Santalab has capped off a remarkable Hyundai A-League season by being named Player of the Year at this year’s Wanderers Medal.

In what was his most prolific season yet, Santalab broke the Club’s all-time goal scoring record, which now stands at 37 goals, and finished the regular season with a Club-high tally of 14 Hyundai A-League goals.

Forward: Brendon Santalab (Wanderers)

It is the first time the 34-year-old has been named Player of the Year, which is voted by Wanderers players, in his four seasons with the Red & Black.

 

Argentine marquee Nicolás Martínez was another big winner on the night, claiming the Rod Allen Award: Media Player of the Year, as voted by media representatives, as well as the Members’ Player of the Year, as voted by the Club’s 20,021 Members.

Nico Martinez on the ball against Adelaide United.

Youngster Keanu Baccus won the Foxtel National Youth League player after an impressive season where he also made three Hyundai A-League appearances.

Full list of award winners:

  • Hyundai A-League Player of the Year presented by NRMA Insurance: Brendon Santalab
  • Westfield W-League Player of the Year: Caitlin Cooper
  • Members’ Player of the Year presented by Coffee Emporium: Nicolás Martínez
  • Rod Allen Award: Media Player of the Year: Nicolás Martínez
  • Foxtel National Youth League Player of the Year: Keanu Baccus
  • Powerchair Player of the Year: Abdullah Karim
  • Hyundai A-League Golden Boot presented by Nike: Brendon Santalab
  • Westfield W-League Golden Boot: Katie Stengel
  • Chairman’s Award: Bernie McLeod and Lawrence Gilbert
  • Guardian Funerals Wandercrew Volunteer of the Year: William Renton

 

Source : Football Federation Australia