The NSR Kanga Cup is Australia’s flagship junior sporting tournament. Now in its 25th year, the Cup continues to grow, always attracting new players, teams and countries to come to Canberra for a week of football. With each year comes more recognition and support from football stars and associations internationally. Former Socceroo and current Brisbane Roar coach John Aloisi was recently in Canberra and was invited to a masters coaching session by Weston-Molonglo Football Club’s junior coach manager, Richard Jalland. Aloisi was kind enough to give us his time to talk about football, the Cup and what it means for the stars of the future.
“It’s always great that kids get to play in a competition like this, it’s such a huge event,” Aloisi said. “I’ve heard about it for years now and my nephew has even been a part of it. Kids get to enjoy themselves and try to win the Cup in the end. When I was young, there were some football tournaments but nothing like the Kanga Cup. What they’ve got going here is huge. It would’ve been nice to compete in something so big and it’s great to see that the tournament is running so well now. It provides a good insight for aspiring players as to what playing under pressure will be like in the future and that’s something a coach would be looking for when they sign someone.”
The Kanga Cup has nine different age divisions between both genders. Additionally, there are three skill divisions of the Cup, adding to the diversity of players in the tournament. “With the age range of players in the tournament,” said Aloisi. “It gives a good chance for players to show their potential at different ages. Some kids develop earlier or later so the Cup helps coaches seek if there’s a good all-round package with an individual. You can also see that we are now producing some good players because of the way that players are coached and trained.”With the men’s World Cup happening last year and the women’s right now, there is a boom in the popularity of football in Australia, something that John acknowledges and encourages. “There’s definitely a rise in the popularity of football in Australia. I’ve gone to a few states and visited some grassroots clubs who now face the problem of finding enough pitches for all of the kids they have playing. The game keeps growing with both boys and girls, which is great to see at this level. Hopefully we will one day see the Socceroos winning the World Cup or at least performing as well as the Matildas have been doing.”
The tick of approval from an Australian football superstar adds yet another feather to the cap of the Kanga Cup which will still continue to grow over the coming years. Maybe one day some players in the Cup this year will make the Socceroos and Matildas, drawing on their experience from a cold week in Canberra.