As the capital’s football fans prepare to cheer on Canberra Olympic in their FFA Cup semi-final against Sydney FC tonight, it will be in the knowledge that the organiser of the city’s 2012 bid for its own A-League team is now working with the Central Coast Mariners to ensure they become just that.
The Central [aka Capital] Coast Mariners want to achieve for soccer in the ACT what the GWS Giants have for AFL. They will play two home games in Canberra this season, at Bruce on November 12 and February 5, with the support of Capital Football and the ACT Government.
In conjunction with Capital Football, the Mariners have appointed Canberra businessman Ivan Slavich as the club’s Business Development Ambassador in Canberra to help create awareness of the Mariners brand and the upcoming matches.
Former TransACT boss Mr Slavich is the managing director of Trident Corporate Services. He headed up the A-League4Canberra bid in 2012.
Mariners CEO Shaun Mielekamp, Capital Football Chairman Mark O’Neill and ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr announced the Mariners’ return to Canberra earlier this year.
The first match is a Remembrance Round fixture on Saturday 12 November against the Wellington Phoenix. Organisers are hopeful that the recent commencement of direct international flights between Canberra and Wellington will entice hordes of New Zealanders to fly in for the game.
The February 5 match is against Adelaide United.
The Mariners have a longstanding relationship with Canberra, having hosted two A-League home matches here in 2009, against Perth Glory and Adelaide United.
Mr Slavich operated as the man on the ground for the Mariners during the team’s pre-season matches here last month.
“For so long I have been yearning for a Hyundai A-League team in Canberra and now we have it,” he said.
“Just look at how excited the football community is about our very own Canberra Olympic FC taking on Sydney FC, we are so proud that they have gone this far in the FFA Cup and can’t wait to see our boys beat Sydney FC.”
Mr Slavich was instrumental in Canberra’s bid for an A-League team in 2012 and plans to leverage the support built via Canberra’s passionate and vocal football fans to get behind the Yellow & Navy.
“All other men’s sporting codes in Canberra have a team to go for. Union fans have the Brumbies, league have the Raiders and AFL have the Giants, now football fans have Olympic FC and the Mariners in the Hyundai A-League,” he said.
The football fanatic said he was committed to showing the Canberra community that the “Capital Coast Mariners” were Canberra’s team and hopeful that the city could all get behind them.
“I can’t stress how important it is for football fans and local businesses to support our Capital Coast Mariners, if we want permanent fixtures here in Canberra, we need to see big crowds at these games and vote with our feet,” Mr Slavich said.
“We are also re-establishing our fan base that we built for the ‘A League 4 Canberra bid’ called Capital Punishment, we will combine with the Mariners Yellow Army to cheer on the boys.”
FFA Cup Semi-Final
Match: Canberra Olympic vs. Sydney FC
Venue: Viking Park, Wanniassa
Kick off: 7.30pm
Hyundai A-League Round 6
Saturday 12 November 2016
Match: Central Coast Mariners?vs. Wellington Phoenix
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 5:35pm (local time)
Hyundai A-League Round 18
Sunday 5 February 2017
Match: Central Coast Mariners?vs. Adelaide United
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 5:00pm (local time)