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Capital Football launches academy for players with a disability
Academy coach Kelly Stirton said: “AWD or all ability athletes don’t get the same options as other athletes so it was Capital Football’s goal to provide them with an option and to make their sport equal with everybody else’s.
“We want to make sure that each and every one of these footballers are supported 110 percent, regardless of their ability on and off the pitch.
“We want to give them an option so they can chase their dreams, whether that be playing football for the very first time or representing the Pararoos at the IFCPF World Cup.”
Capital Football CEO Phil Brown stated: “Capital Football has a united goal to create opportunities that enable everyone to participate in our great game.
“The academy is open to all; from experienced players like Jason Driscoll, who was part of the inaugural Pararoos squad in 1999, to some of our youngest footballers like 10-year-old Jayden Wallace-Bourne.
“We also have Tilda Mason who moved over from Perth to pursue her footballing career with the academy.”
Mr Brown believes the creation of the academy builds on the governing body’s work to make football more inclusive in the state.
“Last year, Kelly was the first female head coach of a team at the National CP Football Championships, leading a Capital Football team which had three female footballers, the first three to ever play in the tournament,” he said.
“While COVID-19 delayed our launch, it has been great to see our footballers join the academy and we hope to see the numbers grow over the coming years.”
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC), together with the Local Organising Committee (LOC), have confirmed the logo for the AFC Asian Cup China 2023.
The logo was revealed via a dazzling and immersive display that showcased the vibrant new design through projection mapping and Augmented Reality, as well as being projected on select iconic buildings across Shanghai’s skyline.
The launch, which was staged at the competition’s first completed stadium – Shanghai Pudong Football Stadium – also revealed the Host City logos in the first on-ground milestone event of the tournament, which will be held from June 16 to July 16, 2023.
The 18th edition of the tournament will see the Socceroos hoping to improve on their quarter-final loss to the United Arab Emirates in 2019.
In a special video message presented during the event, the AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa made the following statement:
“Over the years, each host nation has left a significant mark on Asian football, and we know that China PR will stage our greatest ever tournament in 2023.
“The AFC is pleased to mark our latest milestones and, on behalf of the Asian football family, I would like to congratulate the Local Organising Committee and the Venue Organising Committees of the 10 host cities for their commitment and efforts.
“The LOC continues to make great progress with the preparations to stage a memorable event, and I wish the Chinese Football Association, the LOC, the VOCs and all our stakeholders the very best of success in staging a truly world-class event.”
The 10 dynamic beams in the logo, which emanate from the bottom to form the image of the sun rising from the East, symbolise all the host cities of the AFC Asian Cup China 2023™ – underlining the ever-growing scale and future legacy of the tournament, which will be held in 10 different cities in one nation for the first time in Asian football history.
The process of localising the design and concept, in line with the master brands, was further influenced by the LOC’s proposal to embody ‘Light’ as a symbol and beacon of hope to overcome adversity, particularly pertinent during these challenging times and aptly emphasising the unifying force of Asia’s flagship men’s tournament in rallying together passionate fans and teams from the world’s most diverse continent.
Ivan Franjic’s arrival at historic National Premier Leagues Victoria side Heidelberg United has come via an unconventional journey to say the least.
From his early beginnings in the then-named Victorian Premier League with the likes of St Albans Saints and Melbourne Knights, to playing for Russian side FC Torpedo Moscow, to playing in the third-largest urban agglomeration in Korea with Daegu FC, Franjic’s career has certainly been one to savour.
Whilst his career has seen injury setbacks, a blocked loan and unpaid wages with Torpedo Moscow – and the discovery of a potentially career-threatening rare inflammatory condition known as myocarditis in 2016 – Franjic is grateful to be where he is today and to have had the footballing experiences he’s had.
“I’ve been very fortunate with the success I’ve had over my travels, and I’ve experienced some different countries,” he said.
“It’s been a great journey and I’m thankful and grateful that I was able to live my dream and play for the Socceroos at a World Cup. Some Championships as well, so, can’t complain at all.”
And as for why Franjic opted to return to the NPL Victoria to take up an opportunity with Heidelberg United, a family connection and the quality of the league spoke for itself.
“My brother has played in the NPL for a fair bit and I’ve watched a few of his games. If you look at the FFA Cup you’ve always got a Victorian team in the semi-finals, so it must be saying something about how good the standard of the league is,” he said.
“I know the coach George Katsakis and he called me and my brother and said he was interested in signing us. And obviously Heidelberg have had success over the last few years where they’ve won a lot of trophies, so, they’re wanting to build a great team to have another successful year once again.
“Whenever you go to Heidelberg you see that they have a decent following and that everyone gets behind them, so it’ll be good. I’m looking forward to playing in the NPL this year and to finally be playing with my brother after all these years.”
Next year’s Victorian NPL season will mark 13 years since Franjic departed his then-Victorian Premier League side Oakleigh Cannons to take up an injury-replacement contract offer with Ange Postecoglou’s Brisbane Roar.
It was under the now-Celtic FC coach where Franjic impressed the Roar faithful and built a platform to launch himself into a regular starting berth with the Socceroos at right-back.
As a three-time A-League Men’s Championship winner with Brisbane, three-time Premiership winner with the Roar (twice) and Perth Glory (once), as well as an Asian Cup winner, Franjic has certainly been a key cog in some of Australian football’s most historic sides.
“Obviously, winning the Asian Cup is a massive achievement, it’s similar to someone winning the Euros or the Copa America. But I think in Australia, with soccer not being the number one sport, it’s always hard to get the media buzz of AFL and NRL because they’ve got a huge following,” he said.
“But when you look back on it you don’t realise how high of an achievement it actually was against Asia’s best.
“I’d had Ange as a coach for a few years and he’s no doubt one of the best managers I’d ever worked under. The whole buzz of being in Brazil, with security all around the hotel and obviously Brazil is a football-mad nation, so, everywhere you went people were following you.
“It was exciting, and I thought Australia gave a good account of themselves without getting results in that tournament.”
Each of these remarkable honours were earnt between globetrotting stints with Torpedo Moscow, Melbourne City and Daegu. But before returning to the National Premier Leagues Victoria, Franjic made one final stopover with newly-joined A-League Men’s expansion side Macarthur FC. He gave credit to the side that he helped in their foundation.
“It was no doubt a challenge starting up a new club from fresh and giving it a go. Credit has to go out to all of the staff and the owners; they did an amazing job for a club in their first year in terms of facilities and the stadium. Compared to other clubs that have come into the A-League they were very good,” he said.