The draw for the round of 32 in this season’s FFA Cup will be conducted tonight, with ten clubs making their first appearances in this stage of the competition.

The opportunity to face an A-League club in a competitive match would be massive for these clubs and is something that does not come around too often.

Let’s have a look at the clubs playing their first FFA Cup round of 32 matches for the first time:

Adelaide Olympic – Currently sitting in 5th position in the NPL SA, they qualified for the round of 32 by defeating Adelaide City in the FFSA Federation Cup final. Captaining the side is Ricardo Da Silva, who played a season at Adelaide United in the A-League, while former Aris and Albanian international Kristi Vangjeli signed for the club in June. Former Socceroo Branko Milosevic previously coached the club, while Robbie Cornthwaite and Bruce Kamau are just some that have put on the blue shirt.

Campbelltown City – The Red Devils qualified for the tournament by winning the 2018 NPL Grand Final. Their strong form is continuing into this season, where they are leading the NPL SA. Joe Mullen is their manager and Iain Fyfe is their captain, while they have a string of players with A-League experience such as Daniel Mullen, Matthew Mullen, Alex Mullen and Marc Marino.

Coomera Colts– Making the FFA Cup round of 32 has been a massive achievement for the Gold Coast club, who are one of the smallest at this stage of the competition. Coomera currently sit in 6th position in the Football Gold Coast Men’s Premier League, however their qualification to the tournament will give them the desire to cause an upset. Drawing an A-League club would be a massive moment and would benefit them in the long run.

FC Bulleen Lions – Bulleen find themselves in 3rd position in the NPL2 East VIC competition, however last season were part of the top NPL VIC division. Their victory over St Albans last week ensured their qualification to round of 32 for the first time. Former players include Mark Bresciano, Matthew Leckie and Simon Colosimo.

Magpies Crusaders – Currently sitting in 12th position in NPL QLD, Magpies Crusaders play out of the Mackay and Whitsundays region. Magpies Crusaders as a club were established in 2017, after the merger of the Magpies Sporting Club and Mackay Crusaders Football Club. The opportunity to face an A-League side is something that the club would relish, while fans would be keen to make the journey to this part of the country.

Maitland FC – Also known as the Magpies, Maitland FC find themselves in 4th position in NPL Northern NSW. They are in strong form, having won their last seven competitive matches in both the league and the Northern NSW FFA Cup Preliminary Stages. The Hunter region has produced some fantastic players in Australian football and a strong showing could unearth some more talent.

Moreland Zebras – The Zebras will make their first appearance in this stage of the competition, with the club having a big history in Victorian football. The team progressed to this stage by defeating Altona Magic 1-0 last week, going one better than last year where they were eliminated one stage short of the round of 32. Ange Postecoglou managed the side in 2009, when they were known as the Whittlesea Zebras.

Mount Druitt Town Rangers – After gaining promotion from NPL NSW 2 last season, Rangers currently sit in 8th position in the top division in NSW. They recently signed former Marconi Stallions and Wellington Phoenix player Mirjan Pavlovic, who will no doubt have an impact up front. The club represents the Western Sydney suburb Mount Druitt, and a match against Sydney FC or Western Sydney Wanderers would give the region a boost.

St George FC – While they are making their debut in the round of 32, St George have a huge history in Australian football and are returning to the national stage. They were NSL Champions in 1983 and notable former players include Osvaldo Ardiles, Johnny Warren and Robbie Slater, among a list of many more. Currently, they sit in 10th position in NPL 2 NSW, however drawing an A-League side would be a massive occasion.

Tigers FC – Also known as Cooma FC, the Tigers are based in New South Wales, however, take part in NPL ACT. They lead the competition at this stage of the season and given their good form, could challenge whichever club they draw. Nicolas Abot is their leading goal scorer for this season with 12 goals and is a threat to any team’s defence. The exposure that is gained by participating in the round of 32 will have a positive effect on the club.

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Tim Sperliotis
tsperliotis@gmail.com