Sydney FC Women’s Head Coach Ante Juric is hopeful that the Sky Blues continental challenge will create a new culture at the club.
The AFC Women’s Club Championship kicks off tonight in Uzbekistan with Sydney FC invited after winning both the A-League Premiership and Championship last season.
Juric’s squad starts the campaign against reigning Iranian champions, Bam Khatoon, but is missing some of his influential players due injury.
Cortnee Vine and Sienna Saveska sustained a hamstring injury on international duty and Nat Tobin suffered a season ending ACL injury, but he hopes that the new club signings and young academy graduates gel in with the core squad.
“We have got a few things we are trying to do, one culturally. It is a new team and rebuilding a strong culture within this group and our new players is a priority,” he said.
“Obviously we want to win so [we] will do everything we can to, and if we do [that’s] great but if we don’t [that’s] good too. We will put in everything we can to achieve that goal.”
He anticipates a tough test from today’s opponents for his young team but reckons that they are ready for whatever the opponents will throw at them.
Juric will also utilise what he learned when some of today’s opponents’ players and manager faced off against the Matildas at HBF Park in Perth two weeks ago.
They lost 2-0 in the Asia Olympic qualifiers.
“They are a strong team obviously and they have got a lot of Iranian internationals in there,” he said.
“They have won five out out of the six championships [and] they are a strong team.”
“Australia beat the national team 2-0, that shows you the strength of them and it’s the same national coach and the same players.
“It will be a tough opposition but again we are up for it and ready to go.”
Due to the injuries, the Sky Blues Head Coach may give opportunities to some younger players to show what they can do on a competitive continental stage.
“We have had a few injuries with [Cortnee] Vine, [Nat] Tobin and a couple of others so we have had to bring a few players in, and they are good players,” he said.
“They have been training with us a little while especially Caley from the start.
“Jessica has been playing in the NPL for a couple of years [and] she played W-League in the past, so she will be a good inclusion in this tour.
Caley is a super young player, really excited about her future, so this will be a great opportunity for someone so young.”
The match can be watched tonight from 9pm on the Uzbekistan Football Association YouTube channel.