We caught up with Paul Okon after the team’s training session at the Australian Institute of Sport in the nation’s capital ahead of tonight’s pre-season fixture against the ACT’s best players.
The training session was in preparation for Okon’s first match that will see his side play a double header against Canberra’s best players tonight night at Woden Enclosed.
Indeed, the match will play a crucial role in the Mariners’ pre-season but it will also provide the Hyundai A-League club with a perfect opportunity to identify players from Canberra who will earn the opportunity to spend a week on trial with the Central Coast Mariners.
Okon spoke about the importance of taking the team into a camp environment during pre-season and previewed Tuesday night’s fixture.
“The boys trained well on Monday, it was a great trip down and it’s good to galvanise the group to build some team spirit,” Okon said.
“Getting the team into camp is very important, the players bond and certainly for the new boys to interact and feel as comfortable as possible will hopefully translate to players performing at a better level.
“During the matches [on Tuesday night] we are looking to build on our combinations which we’ve done in the five sessions already and gain a better understanding of what we need to work on.
“We’re excited for Tuesday night, it’s a friendly game but for me as a player and now as a coach I want to win even a game of foot tennis, the result is not our focus but it’s important because we want to breed a winning culture.
Okon also spoke about assessing the local talent during the club’s match in Canberra.
“We’ve seen in the past, the last player to come out of Canberra is Tomi Rogic and there’s no need for me to talk him up,” Okon said. “It’s a great opportunity for the local players here to play against the Mariners and see where they are in terms of the level.
“Hopefully we can play our part in putting on a good spectacle,” Okon said.
With Canberra’s GIO Stadium set to host two Central Coast Mariners’ home games this Hyundai A-League season, the Mariners are building on their strong relationship with the ACT’s football governing body and the collaborative talent pathway is the next big step.
With the assistance of Capital Football, Canberra’s crop of PS4 NPL talent has been split geographically into the following regions:
Capital North region Select:
- Canberra Olympic FC x 4 players
- Gungahlin United FC x 4 players
- Belconnen United FC x 4 players
- Woden Weston FC x 4 players (placed in the North to equalise numbers)
Capital South region Select:
- Canberra FC x 4 players
- Tuggeranong United FC x 4 players
- Tigers FC x 4 players
- Monaro Panthers FC x 4 players
* Players from the Canberra United Academy will also be selected into each team.
Venue: Woden Park Enclosed
Date: Tuesday September 6
6pm – Central Coast Mariners v Capital North Region Select
7:45pm – Central Coast Mariners v Capital North Region Select
Entry fee: $5 at the gate