Premier fixture plan for Albany

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Football West Great Southern development officer Sarthak Mishra with Football West chief operating officer Greg Blycha.
Camera IconFootball West Great Southern development officer Sarthak Mishra with Football West chief operating officer Greg Blycha. Credit: Laurie Benson

Albany appears set to host a National Premier League WA fixture next year after initial discussions around a high-level soccer fixture began this week during a visit from Football West chief operating officer Greg Blycha.

Blycha visited Albany this week to meet with stakeholders in the industry and City of Albany officials to explore the possibility of a 2020 NPL WA game in the region.

Football West has allocated an NPL fixture to be held in Busselton this month, with Perth Glory and Sorrento facing off.

That match will be the third regional festival of football held outside the metropolitan area and Blycha said a similar concept in Albany next year was a possibility.

“Part of my trip has been to raise the prospect of hosting an NPL game here next year,” Blycha said.

“The feedback was very favourable to the idea so now it is about locking in a date. All signs are encouraging — there is already a lot of support for the NPL game to come here.

“It would be played at (Centennial Stadium) as that has been identified as the prime facility.

“Andrew Sharp from the City of Albany was responsive to the concept.

“We’d make it into a big festival of football over a few days, incorporating coaching and skills clinics and other events we can work in over a week.”

The NPL WA season has already kicked off for 2019, running from March until August.

Blycha was in Albany to help wrap up a successful Albany Summer Sevens competition, run over nine weeks, comprising 22 teams.

Albany would also have a talent support program for aspiring players, beginning in the first week of June through new Football West Great Southern development officer Sarthak Mishra, Blycha said.

“The introduction of the talent support program is a big progress step for regional areas,” he said.

“We are trying to source State Government funds at the moment to help create a State Football Centre which obviously can be used for regional teams and athletes when they come to Perth.

“Regional areas are a focus for us. Football continues to grow, as does female football, and making sure we have the right facilities to allow that growth.”

Blycha said he would continue discussions in the hope of confirming what would be the first high-level match in the region for years.

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