Despite being thrust into the role only one month ago, interim Westfield Matilda’s Head Coach Alen Stajcic has plenty of experience to draw from ahead of his squad’s opening group game of the AFC Asian Cup tonight.
Despite being thrust into the role only one month ago, interim Westfield Matilda-s Head Coach Alen Stajcic has plenty of experience to draw from ahead of his squad-s opening group game of the AFC Asian Cup tonight.
The Sydney FC Women-s Head Coach will draw on his experiences against Japanese opposition during the Sky Blues excellent third place finish at the International Women-s Club Championship, as he prepares to face the current World Champions Japan at Thong Nhat Stadium, Vietnam (kick off 11:15pm AEST).
“I-m expecting the toughest possible opponent we can play tonight,” Stajcic said.
“Along with USA and Germany, Japan are the form team in the World but in saying that I-m extremely confident we'll give a good account of ourselves.
“If we want to be World Champions then we have to beat the best, it-s pretty simple,” he continued.
“Playing in the IWCC has given me a great insight into both the Japanese playing style and personnel. Many players from the Beleza team are here with Japan and the same result against them would be nice (1-0 win).”
The Matilda-s squad contains seven current Sydney FC players including the goal scorer from the 2010 Asian Cup Final, Sam Kerr, and Stajcic said it was a great boost having a number of experienced girls in the team who have already tasted Asian Cup success.
“All of my previous coaching roles have helped the transition into this one but most importantly the players have responded well,” said Stajcic.
“Many of our players despite being so young have played in this tournament before so that gives our team a great level of experience.
“Combine that with our youthful energy and that-s what gives me the most confidence that we'll play well.”
Casey Dumont, Leena Khamis, Nicola Bolger, Teresa Polias, Sam Kerr, Caitlin Foord and Amy Harrison all played substantial minutes for Sydney FC this season and all look set to play a part in the Matilda-s Asian Cup campaign.
“Every player in our squad can play and most likely will play,” Stajcic said.
“That-s the best part about our squad, I don-t know if there are too many teams that will use the whole squad but I-m pretty confident we can use all of ours and be effective using them.”
Fresh from reaching the semi-finals of the Westfield W-League with Sydney FC, Stajcic will look to transfer the free-flowing football he has instilled on the Sky Blues into the national set up, with a 2015 FIFA World Cup place up for grabs
“First of all we want to play attractive positive and pro-active football,” he said.
“Secondly qualify for World Cup and thirdly win some more silverware for our country.
“We know we-re playing the World Champions and we know it-s going to be an extremely tough game but we-re going to take a positive approach into it and really try and be proactive with and without the ball, put them under pressure and see what comes of it.”
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