Brisbane Roar’s Under 23 side is preparing to take on Congo FC in an exhibition match later this month.
Congo FC, a local football team made up of local Congolese players, recently reached the quarterfinals of the AFCON Queensland 2022 tournament.
It was by chance that the opportunity to play an exhibition match between the two sides was sparked after the U23’s team was needing a temporary training ground in November with their Mappas training field at Slacks Creek under renovation.
Bethania Rams offered to host the side during this period after striking up a conversation with Capital League 3 Head Coach and Brisbane Roar Isuzu UTE A-League midfielder Rahmat Akbari.
National Premier League (NPL) Head Coach Chris Grossman then got the ball rolling on the idea with former NPL Queensland striker Kado Aoci, who coaches Congo FC.
“We saw it as a fantastic opportunity to do something positive for the community and to thank Bethania for allowing us to use their facility,” Grossman explained.
“We are really looking forward to the opportunity.”
While the game will offer the opportunity to give back to the local community for their support, from a football perspective Grossman is expecting a tough match.
“We haven’t seen anything of them, but from what I hear, they are a very talented side. We will prepare professionally, and I expect a good hit out as we look to build towards the start of the season,” he said.
As they continue to build towards the start of the upcoming NPL Men’s season, which starts on 24 February, Grossman and his squad have been ramping up their preparations.
And with just over a month until the season gets underway, the team are heading into a crucial period of their pre-season training.
“It has been a very different few months leading up to Christmas than we are used to,” Grossman said.
“We are excited heading into the critical part of our pre-season program.
“We are seeing the younger boys really developing and being challenged, where success isn’t always guaranteed, and on the other side, the older boys need to push to stay ahead.
“It’s a very pleasing balance in our squad for the 2023 season.”
Brisbane Roar’s U23 side will take on Congo FC at Logan Metro Soccer Club on Sunday 22 January at 5:30pm.