A-League: Central Coast Mariners create talent pathway in Canberra


Canberra football players are a step closer to having a talent identification pathway following the creation of Central Coast Mariners' Capital Draft.

Canberra Olympic's Jordan Tsekenis and Jeremy Habtemariam and Tuggeranong United's Andrew Slavich will join the A-League side for a week-long trial and coaching development stint at the club's Centre of Excellence.

Opportunity knocks: Canberra Olympic's Jeremy Habtemariam.
Opportunity knocks: Canberra Olympic's Jeremy Habtemariam. Photo: Graham Tidy

As part of the initiative, Belconnen United's coach Luka Ujdur will spend time with the Mariners as a developing coach.

Central Coast's chief executive Shaun Mielekamp said his club was excited to unearth Canberra's talent after the three selected players featured prominently for a representative team that took on the Mariners this week.

"All three players had standout games against us and we are working with Capital Football to ensure these opportunities continue in the future.

"These players will join the club for a full trial, partake in an intra-club pre-season friendly and from there they are in the hands of the football department which is their opportunity to showcase what they can do."

Olympic coach Frank Cachia said last month that a lack of developmental pathways makes it difficult to retain local talent. He was pleased with the creation of the Capital Draft for players and coaches in the region.

"It's a great opportunity and they're obviously looking to invest and see what they can get out of Canberra so I think it's a real door opener for local kids and local players ... if they're going to start taking not just players but coaches as well, then it's a good thing for any one in the region that wants to develop.

"If you go and spend a week with an A-League side, that experience is going to be hard to rival."

Cachia said that Tsekenis and Habtemariam, both 19, are excited to be exposed to new environments and techniques, as well as the opportunity to further their chances at the elite level.

"Apart from the trophies and things we've won this year, it's just icing on the cake for us to see a couple of our boys recognised who have come through the ranks at Olympic," Cachia said.

"To be identified by an A-League side, regardless of what happens in the future it's just a great opportunity for them."

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