Special Report by Edith Yankuba and Zachary Colwell
- Socceroos whiz kid Garang Kuol will return for the Central Coast Mariners in their F3 Derby against Newcastle Jets at Industree Group Stadium on Sunday.
- The Mariners’ World Cup heroes Kuol, Jason Cummings and Danny Vukovic are all expected to be considered for selection.
- Kuol is expected to feature in five home games at Industree Group Stadium – including a New Year’s Eve finale against Melbourne Victory – before he leaves to play at Newcastle United.
- Tickets to Sunday’s F3 Derby match are available at here.
- Industree Group Stadium Premium Experiences and Stadium Memberships are available here
FORMER Mariners coach Lawrie McKinna has urged football fans across Australia to grab the opportunity to see the Socceroos’ most exciting young player Garang Kuol in action before he moves on with his career in the UK in January.
Kuol, the 18-year-old wonder boy who went so close to grabbing the equaliser against Argentina in that enthralling FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Round of 16 match last Sunday, will join fellow World Cup Mariners Jason Cummings and Danny Vukovic back on the Central Coast and in the A-League this weekend.
The Mariners play fierce rivals Newcastle Jets in the F3 Derby at Industree Group Stadium at the family-friendly time of 3pm on Sunday – the first of five home games that Kuol is expected to feature in for the Mariners before he takes up a lucrative deal with English Premier League club Newcastle United.
The Mariners have earmarked a New Year’s Eve blockbuster against Melbourne Victory at Industree Group Stadium (7pm kick-off) as the likely Garang Kuol Farewell Game.
Legendary coach McKinna said of the Mariners’ teen superstar: “Garang Kuol is one of the most exiting players to play in the A League . . . never mind at the World Cup. He has signed with Newcastle United in the EPL and will leave in January and it may be a while before we can all see this young player with a great future play in the flesh at Industree Group Stadium.
“Mariners Members and supporters should be coming out in good numbers to support Garang, Jason and Danny as the three players represented the Central Coast and Australia at the FIFA World Cup™.
“And football fans generally should take the opportunity to see young Garang Kuol in action before he leaves to further his career overseas.”
McKinna, the legendary Scottish-born ex-player and manager who coached the Mariners between 2005 and 2010, taking the club to the Grand Final in 2005, became such a Central Coast local he went on to serve as Mayor of Gosford City Council.
He is now Ambassador for the Stadium Membership program at Industree Group Stadium – and he says fans can expect to see a special talent in coming games.
“Members and supporters can expect some goals and excitement on the field from Garang, just like in the last few minutes when the Socceroos played Argentina and he had a great chance to equalise against one of the top teams in the world. It wasn’t to be as the keeper saved the day for Argentina, pulling off a point blank save from young Garang.”
Kuol made FIFA World Cup™ history in Qatar. He is now the youngest Socceroo to debut at the FIFA World Cup™ – and he is the youngest player to play in the knockout stages of a FIFA World Cup™ since the great Pelé in 1958.
McKinna says Kuol is one of the most exciting young talents Australia has ever seen. Not only is his finishing superb, he’s also got a silky touch, a fantastic passing game and he’s lightning quick.
The story of Garang Mawien Kuol is quite remarkable and reflective of modern Australia. He was born in Egypt in 2004 as his South Sudanese parents fled Sudan due to violent conflicts throughout the country. The family moved to Australia as refugees, where they settled in Shepparton, Victoria.
Kuol joined the Central Coast Mariners Academy In January 2021, making his debut for the Mariners’ senior side at age 17 as a substitute in their 6–0 win against APIA Leichhardt in the 2021 FFA Cup in December that year . . . banging home a goal just seven minutes after coming on.
He first put the world on notice when he starred for the A-Leagues All Stars against the might of FC Barcelona in a friendly at Accor Stadium in May 2022.
It took a dive and a stretch to deny Kuol a goal in the knockout stages of the FIFA World Cup™ against Argentina. Nevertheless, it was a brilliant piece of skill and a truly memorable moment. The 25 minutes he spent on the pitch at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium alerted the world that a special talent had truly emerged.
Prior to the knockout stages, Kuol also played for 15 minutes for the Socceroos as a sub against France.
He will long be remembered for his FIFA World Cup™ debut as the youngest member of a Socceroos squad that took Aussie football fans on an amazing ride . . . as Graham Arnold’s team became our most successful in World Cup history.
Want to watch all the action at Industree Group Stadium from the best seats in the house? Enquire about Stadium Membership and Premium Experience offerings here.