Image Credit: Southern District FC
On-loan Mariner Matt Cahill has made a strong start to his stint with Southern District in Hong Kong, coming off the bench in his first league game to score his side’s only goal in a 2-1 loss to Kitchee before scoring again this past weekend.
The 20–year-old was loaned to Southern District after the 2020 NPL season and despite the league start being heavily delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic he hit the ground running in his side’s opening game.
Very proud of the players attitude & team spirit last night for fighting until the last minute against a strong team who will play in the Asian Champions League. Some excellent performances from young loanees and Academy graduates. Early days but good to be in the top 3. ⚽️? pic.twitter.com/X6ii58NzgK
— Zesh Rehman (@Zesh_Rehman) February 28, 2021
Speaking after his first goal and game, the forward said it was nice just to be playing football again.
“It feels great to be back, after almost two months in Hong Kong with no football and only doing running to stay fit,” he said.
“Having the ball back at my feet and getting to finally play games again is something you don’t take for granted anymore because of what covid has done to football.”
“It was a very challenging time in that period when I first arrived as there was no word on when the season would get restarted. I had to remind myself of why I was here to help motivate myself in the running sessions, so I would be ready when eventually we started up.
Cahill has quickly adapted to life in his new league, and said it was a great feeling to score his maiden professional goal, particularly in a challenging environment.
“It was an amazing feeling to score my first professional goal, especially on my debut here,” he said.
“There’s always pressure for a striker coming into a team to score goals, so being able to get one on my debut takes that weight off my shoulders and helps me to just focus on playing the best football I can and not having the thought of needing to score in the back of my head.”
“Just from the first few games and from training with my own team you can see the quality of the foreign players here.”
“They are all at a very high level and the defenders particularly are experienced, foreign players so it’s been a great challenge already playing against guys of that quality.”
Mariners Head of Football Ken Schembri said it was great to see Cahill flourishing in a new league, and that the Club will continue to keep an eye on him and monitor his form.
“We are keeping an eye on Matty while he is on loan, and it is great to see him already having an impact scoring twice in his first three games,” Schembri said.
“We are in regular contact with his Coach Zeshan Rehman who agrees with us that this opportunity will be and continues to be invaluable experience for Matt.”