Sunshine Coast FC will go into this FFA Cup tie as favourites on account of their Qld NPL status (Aust. 2nd Tier). Their opponents United Park Eagles play in Queensland’s lower ranked Wide Bay League. Not only will the Eagles have to defy the rankings, but they’ll also have to win on enemy turf.
In recent weeks we’ve spoken to Sunshine Coast’s Japanese import Shoichi Koshimizu. In light of the upcoming clash involving lower tier opponents though, form lines were hard to assess, so we got some inside information from media intern Jay Stewart. Asked about the differences between NPL and lower tier teams, Stewart explained that the Sunshine Coast Premier League clubs weren’t far away from NPL level. Backing that up is the fact Sunshine Coast FC were defeated by local Premier League outfits in the two previous editions of the FFA Cup.
Further he added, “Both teams that defeated the Fire (Sunshine Coast FC) went on to win their game against Wide Bay opponents . . .”
This according to Stewart and any decent form analyst, would indicate the Fire should have the quality to advance to the next round.
When probed on some of the best talent at Sunshine Coast FC, Stewart recommended goalkeeper Sam Nickolls and midfielder Grant de Chastel. He said that 23 year old Nickolls had won the club points on his own, while Noosa product de Chastel (20) was a hard working type that wins possession and often initiates the transition from defence to attack.
Locals are being given free entry to the match at Kawana Sports Precinct and there is no better time for casual fans to get an eyeful. Stewart noted, “The Fire are playing some good football at the moment . . . a win here would see the club travel to play either SWQ Thunder (NPL), who Sunshine Coast beat last weekend, or Surfers Paradise Apollo of the Gold Coast League.”
With Sunshine Coast winning their last two Stewart is adamant a win is in store for the NPL team. As well as improving form, “home advantage could prove important,” he said. Windy conditions are often on hand at Kawana and local know-how will definitely be vital.
Meanwhile, underdogs United Park will be up against it according to captain Jake Davis. The skipper was interviewed on WIN News after UPE’s 4-0 Round 5 win and he said, “Our goal is just to compete with them. If we win awesome. But if we can just compete, that’s what we want.”
For Sunshine Coast FC there is no better time to get into the FFA Cup main draw. It seems as soon as the final whistle was blown on the A-League season, discussions around A-League expansion and promotion and relegation kicked off.
This Sunday the Sunshine Coast – one of Australia’s growth centres – has an opportunity to edge closer to football’s big time. Kick off is 4pm AET.