It’s cold, wet, windy and just plain old wintery. Most of us are curled up under our blankets, with our TV shows all lined up to take us through the night while sipping down on that coffee or hot chocolate. Most of us that is, except for the people from the newly established sporting club in the South-West of Sydney – The Sporting Rovers.
You will find them out there instead, in the parks, putting young players through their paces, scratching names off their clipboards, scratching their heads looking for the right combinations. The players that they’re watching over, come from all walks of life, and are also out there, salivating to just be given a chance by the Rovers. These kids, some of them barely in their twenties, are there to show club founder Kevin George, and his fellow Rovers board members that they also, belong, they also want to share in the dream and the journey to lift the trophy of the upcoming Assyrian Cup that’s being held in Sydney during the October long weekend.
Kevin and Co-coach Brandon Reid are managing the First Grade side, with Michael Mando (Rovers co-founder) and Damien Francescucci having been handed the reins to the Academy side. When the callouts went out on social media, asking for local football players to come and trial for the Rovers, the response was astonishing. A total of 70 players turned up, to prove their wares, on 4 separate trial nights. The players performed drills, set-play scenarios, fitness tests and much more, to give the fellas from the Rovers a ‘good headache’ of now trying to shorten down that list of 70 to a final squad of 32 players, to represent the Rovers at the Assyrian Cup in two sides – The first Grade and The Academy.
When yours truly caught up with the boss Kevin, I asked him whether there was any player that stood out, someone who simply made it impossible to be ignored, and the spectators to look for, Kevin enthusiastically replied “17 year old Christo Hanna, an under 18’s player from Bonnyrigg White Eagles. A rare Assyrian talent, maestro with the ball, his touch and movement is smooth, his body positioning at his age is to die for.” Kevin also felt it right in mentioning “David William. Although he has represented my teams on numerous occasions, his time playing state league over the last two years has made him a star and definitely a player to watch.”
The final Squad is going to be picked on Monday the 25th of August, and with full training to commence the same week, the captains of the two sides will also be picked by the 25th.
When asked whether there was a particular team that looms as the biggest challenge for the rest of the competition, there was once again no hesitation from Kevin to point out that “You can’t go past Ashur King. If that team sticks together and plays to its potential, then we will meet them in the final. Hume Valley from Melbourne may also be up there as a contender as well.”
The Rovers are getting ready; they’re completing all the little things, and are slowly and surely putting together a formidable squad to really challenge for the title at The Assyrian Cup, as our man Kevin alluded and pointed out to us, that this competition has a much more deeper significance for all involved “We have to celebrate such an occasion for the Assyrian community. Times have been tough as of late for everyone with what is going on in and around Iraq. Our generation should use this event to show solidarity, unity, passion, joy and peace and appreciate how well we have it in Australia, being able to represent our Assyrian people and appreciate our freedom here amongst all other cultures.”
And on that note ladies and gentleman, I bid you a ‘see you at the Assyrian Cup’, as you can sense, days of pride and joy are looming for the Sporting Rovers, and hopefully also for our people back in the motherland, Assyria, it seems then, that the winter is coming to an end.