Sterjovski | Mariners can be heroes in Hiroshima


Central Coast Mariners held their first training session in Hiroshima on Monday afternoon after arriving in the city earlier in the day.

Central Coast Mariners held their first training session in Hiroshima on Monday afternoon after arriving in the city earlier in the day.

The travelling squad ventured west from Tokyo – where they spent Sunday night – to Hiroshima on Monday morning, and stretched their legs in the shadows of the Big Arch Stadium ahead of Wednesday’s crucial 2014 AFC Champions League showdown against reigning J.League winners Sanfrecce Hiroshima.


Central Coast Mariners attacker Mile Sterjovski – who scored both goals for Phil Moss-s side when the yellow and navy defeated Hajime Moriyasu’s men 2-1 in Gosford last month – said the team is excited by the prospect of advancing to the knockout phase of Asia’s top club competition for a successive season by securing a positive result against the purple-whites.

“It would be massive, to do it back to back would be awesome,” Sterjovski said. “The amount of money that these Asian clubs have, and the squad sizes that they have, for our team to make the second round would be massive.”

“[But] we have the belief that we can do it and the squad that can do it, so we-re looking forward to the game.”

“It-s always been our goal to do well in both competitions [the Hyundai A-League and AFC Champions League]. We-ve got a chance to secure our spot in the next round by getting a win so we-re going to go out there and play to the best of our abilities,” he said.

The former LOSC Lille and FC Basel man is no stranger to the big time, having played in the UEFA Champions League, Europa League, and for the Socceroos throughout his glittering career.

Sterjovski, who will retire from professional football at the end of the Mariners- 2013/14 campaign, said a strong team performance is the key to the men from Gosford-s idyllic bayside arena advancing to the last 16 of Asia-s top club competition.

“A team performance outweighs anything else,” he said. “If the team performs well then that guarantees the win.”

“If I play well, that-s great, but the important thing is that the team plays well and we get the three points.”

Wednesday-s clash against the ‘three arrows- commences a huge few days for Central Coast, with the Mariners also up against Western Sydney Wanderers in a Hyundai A-League Grand Final qualifier in Parramatta this Saturday.

“The spirit within the team is really good. We-ve got good facilities here and we-re preparing pretty well,” Sterjovski concluded.

The Mariners will hold their official familiarisation session at the Hiroshima Big Arch Stadium on Tuesday afternoon, play Wednesday night, travel Thursday, and arrive back in Sydney from the land of the rising sun on Friday morning.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima vs. Central Coast Mariners – 2014 AFC Champions League Matchday 6 (Group F)
Wednesday 23 April 2014
Hiroshima Big Arch Stadium, Hiroshima, Japan
Kick-off: 7:30pm (local), 8:30pm (AEST)
Twitter: Join the match conversation on Twitter using #HIRvCCM, #ACL2014 & #CCMFC
Television: Watch LIVE on FOX SPORTS 3 & 3HD