Sydney Olympic earned valuable experience when they were defeated 3-0 by the Iraq national side in a friendly match at Wollongong’s WIN Stadium last Wednesday.
Last year’s PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Runners Up were put through a great test against the 2007 Asian Champions as the visitors prepared for the AFC Asian Cup.
Head coach Grant Lee was happy with his side’s performance despite the loss.
“This was one of our first hit outs after only three weeks preseason training before Christmas and the boys did well,” he said.
“We took a big squad with a lot of young players and they all pretty much got about 45 minutes each.
“Iraq scored two quick goals and secured it with a goal in the 88th minute.
“I thought it was a great exercise for us as a club for many reasons.
“We gave our boys some good exposure against international players which showed them the next level and what it takes to be a professional.
“More importantly it takes the fear factor out of them and they now know what it takes to become a professional.
“We played against the Malaysian national side last year and it was a great exercise. To be honest I would take on any national side as I only see positives out of those sort of friendly matches.”
The match also gave Lee the chance to see his new recruits in action and he was not disappointed.
“Scotty (Balderson) played 45 minutes and I thought he did really well,” he said.
“Unfortunately Leigh Egger played 20 minutes and had to come off with an ankle injury and Howard Fondyke didn’t play due to an injury.
“But seeing the younger boys play really shows the depth we have in our squad and I think we are in a good position.
“We are also trying to line up a couple of friendly games against teams in Canberra for over the Australia Day long weekend now to continue the preparation.”
The entire squad is expected to be at training for the first time this week.
Sydney Olympic’s preparation for the upcoming PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 competition will go into overdrive in the Preseason Cup.
The Blues are grouped with the Marconi Stallions, Sutherland Sharks, Blacktown Spartans, Parramatta FC and Manly United in pool B.
It will be structured as a round robin format with the winning teams from both pools facing each other in the Grand Final.
by Chris Georges