Youth team a better option for Canberra

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People often think of football as a romantic game but Canberra Olympic coach Frank Cachia says fans will have to put any such notions aside when it comes to Canberra’s A-League future.

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The Olympic boss believes that a team operating below the top tier is the best way forward and said gaining an A-League license would fail to improve Canberra’s local talent.

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The past fortnight has seen Canberra United granted a National Youth League license for the upcoming season. While no bid for a A-League spot has been put forward, Cachia said he was skeptical of any bid’s effectiveness in harnessing local talent.

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While giving local players a pathway is often bandied around as a pro for having an A-League team, Cachia disagrees saying the brutal nature of professional football would prevent much local progress.

“If there was a Canberra team in the A-League, he (the coach) is not just going to look in Canberra for players,” Cachia said.

“He’s going to go where he can get the best players to get results because he’s going to live and die by them. It’d be nice to have a couple of Canberra boys in there but you look at the Raiders and it’s not like they’re full of Canberra boys, there’s a handful.”

Cachia, who took Olympic to an FFA Cup semi-final last year, stressed that having a professional side in the territory would not stop talented players from seeking opportunities elsewhere.

“People keep saying it would be really good for Canberra, their playing stock and their kids,” Cachia said.

“You have to get that out of your mind, if you want to study a course and it’s not offered in Canberra you’ll travel. If you want to take football as a profession and you have the ability to play at that level you’ll go to wherever that is.”

An A-League club wouldn’t be the first foray the city has made into professional football with both Canberra City and Canberra Cosmos lasting a few years in the NSL during the eighties and nineties.

Former general manager of the Cosmos George Lemon said that while they had a number of local talents in their side, the lack of star power ultimately quickened the demise of the franchise.

“We had an abundance of talented players through our local ranks,” Lemon said.

“It’s always good to see that happen but we needed those two or three marquee players that would have helped us [with crowds].”

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Dominic Unwin
Third year Sports Media student at the University of Canberra. Interests include sports history and stats...you know, all the fun stuff.

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