Having masterminded the elimination of Central Coast Mariners from the FFA Cup, the NPL Victoria coach wants more professional opportunities in Australia
Papas’ men became just the second lower-league side to eliminate A-League opposition in FFA Cup history, with Liam Boland’s wonder-goal clinching Gully’s 2-1 triumph in stoppage time on Tuesday.
While Central Coast could have led 2-0 at half-time but for Roy O’Donovan’s tap-in being ruled out for offside, Gully were in the contest throughout the 90 minutes with Mariners goalkeeper Ivan Necevski producing a number of top saves before the hosts’ late flurry in Melbourne’s north.
Gully captain Daniel Jones equalised in the 85th minute when his strike deflected off Boland’s knee and past Necevski.
Boland then produced a moment of magic in the 92nd minute, turning on the ball before launching a 40-yard shot over Necevski and into the net.
“Proud of the last six minutes but proud of the whole game, to be honest,” Papas said of Green Gully’s comeback.
“I thought from the word ‘Go’ we didn’t take a back step.”
The 36-year-old, who has worked in India to pursue a professional coaching career, reckons Boland and Co. proved they could thrive in a full-time environment.
“There are players that are capable of playing at the next level, and at the end of the day it comes down to how many opportunities there are available [in Australia],” Papas said.
“Maybe it gives the idea that a second division, somewhere down the track, is important because there’s talented players that aren’t allowed to do this full-time.
“It’s important that coaches and players also get given full-time opportunities and results like this maybe give it a bit of power.”
Shane Cansdell-Sherriff, who has just returned to Australia after 17 years playing in Europe, is convinced there’s enough talent to warrant a professional second tier.
The 33-year-old defender has joined NPL NSW club Manly United and will make his FFA Cup debut on Wednesday against Bonnyrigg White Eagles.
“Certainly what I’ve seen in my team, there’s a hell of a lot of talent in my side,” Cansdell-Sherriff told Goal Australia.
“You know, we’ve got players there that are playing semi-professional and need to learn that professional game, and what it takes to train every day and be that little bit better. Having a second professional league in football over here would be fantastic.
“It’s something I feel I could step up and do on the coaching front as well, as well as playing. I’ve had three promotions in five years. I know what it takes to win and see a team through a season.”
Cansdell-Sherriff, who helped Burton Albion into the Championship last season before returning to his hometown of Sydney, applauded Green Gully’s victory.
“Results like last night are fantastic for the lower divisions, to be given the chance to play against top-flight football teams and prove themselves,” he said.
“Someone might have done well enough last night just to be given a chance in the A-League or a trial or something like that, and that’s what it’s about – to be given a chance.
“I think it’s great for football.”
© 2016 Goal | This article was written by Michael Huguenin and appeared on the Goal website on 03rd August, 2016