Sydney shoots for top spot in clash with junior Jets
Sydney FC's high-flying National Youth League team can cement top spot on the table and its place in the season decider when it travels to take on the Jets this Saturday in Newcastle.
When Kofi Danning came up from Canberra to try his luck with Steve O-Connor-s youth side at the start of the season, little did he know what a ride he was in for. A standing ovation from the Sydney FC fans, two first-team goals and press coverage wanting to learn all about the 17-year-old-s journey from Ghana to the top level of Australian football.
As he walked off Cromer Park last Sunday night disappointed not to have secured the Youth League minor premiership in his return to the Sky Blues- junior side, he patiently stopped to sign a batch of autographs for admiring youngsters who-ve already grown to love his work.
It-s been some sort of month for the young footballer, and it doesn-t take long for his infectious smile to beam through when reflecting on his rapid rise.
“It-s still a bit crazy, I can-t believe it because I-m just new to the club,” he said. “For people at the club to already support and love me, I-m just having a ball”.
The prodigy burst onto the scene by lifting the club-s spirits with a dramatic late winner against Wellington in front of the Cove at the Sydney Football Stadium, but showed he was the real deal backing it up the week after with a smart looping header at Suncorp Stadium against the Queensland Roar.
His pace and energy have been infectious in the youth side all season, and he showed he was able to put it on show on the big stage as well.
“For me, it-s been really enjoyable. I-ve scored a few goals for the first team, played some good games but I-ve backed each game up to come back and start again. I-m quite happy with how I-ve gone over the last month.”
With the bright lights of the Hyundai A-League over for the season Danning re-united with his younger team mates in a full strength Sydney youth side last weekend. The performance was understandably disjointed given the lack of time the group has had together in recent months, but the young midfielder makes no secret of the fact that he and his mates have their sights set on clinching the inaugural Youth League together.
“I definitely do, that-s why I-m disappointed because I really wanted to win (against Melbourne), it would-ve guaranteed us a spot in the grand final,” he said after the 3-2 loss to Victory on the weekend. “I love playing for the guys. We have each other-s backs. It-s great, the competition is really good and it helps us improve and get better.”
With two matches remaining before the winner-takes-all Grand Final, Sydney FC-s young-guns can secure top spot on the table and their place in the season decider with victory on the road over the struggling Newcastle Jets this weekend.
Saturday-s round-20 contest kicks-off at Adamstown Oval at 6pm on Saturday.