Kuols’ club pull off mammoth Australia Cup boilover, 2nd tier side sign a Matilda

Welcome to A-Leagues Life, where KEEPUP brings you all the latest news and goings on at your club. This is how the week is shaping up across the A-Leagues and beyond.

Liberty A-League champ joins second-tier club in NSW

Princess Ibini is on the move during the Liberty A-League off-season, signing for UNSW FC.

The 2022-23 A-League Women champion joins the Football NSW League One Women’s club on loan from the Sky Blues, with the FIFA Women’s World Cup set to kick-off next month.

An eight-time Australia international, Ibini scored a career-high eight goals as three-time reigning premiers Sydney won the Grand Final against Western United in April.

The 23-year-old will now link up with league-leading UNSW FC for the remainder of the season.

“Ibini-Isei is an exceptional attacker with a wealth of footballing experience and is a role model across the country to young players passionate about football,” a statement read.

“At UNSW FC, Ibini-Isei will have access to top-class training facilities, professional coaches and administrators, and world-leading research in sport and exercise science and nutrition from academics at the prestigious University of New South Wales, Sydney,”

UNSW FC are unbeaten through 13 rounds and two points clear of Central Coast Mariners in the second tier of women’s football in NSW.

Suns show the ‘Magic of the Cup’

“It’s probably the biggest game in the club’s history,” was the message from Goulburn Valley Suns ahead of their round seven Australia Cup tie against NPLM VIC opponents Hume City.

It was third-tier Goulburn Valley, who gave Alou Kuol and Garang Kuol their first opportunities, up against Hume from the first division – a club that reached the 2015 Australia Cup semi-finals.

The Suns flipped the script on its head as they stunned Hume 2-0 to win a spot in the Round of 32, where they could take on A-Leagues opposition.

Both Alou and Garang Kuol began their footballing careers in the Goulburn Valley region.

Alou played his junior football for the Suns before a two-year period of senior football, scoring 28 goals in 47 games prior to his switch to Central Coast Mariners in 2019. He has since gone on to join Bundesliga outfit Stuttgart.

His younger brother Garang also emerged from the Suns before he was prised away by the Mariners in 2021, with the Socceroo now on the books of Premier League giants Newcastle United.

The duo are away on international duty with the Olyroos at the prestigious Maurice Revello Tournament.

England awaits a Mariners sensation?

It appears that Nectar Triantis is hot property thanks to his exploits for Central Coast Mariners in the Isuzu UTE A-League.

Triantis only had five minutes of senior football to his name before 2022-23, but tThe 20-year-old now has an A-League Men Championship on his CV and UK clubs circling.

The Olyroos defender has been tipped to join Sunderland in England’s Championship, with the second-tier outfit offering around £500,000 ($929,975), per the Daily Mail.

But Premier League side Crystal Palace are also reportedly interested, though a loan move would await should he decide to sign at Selhurst Park.

Mariners head coach Nick Montgomery told reporters after Saturday night’s incredible 6-1 win over Melbourne City in the Grand Final that Central Coast were braced for offers for Triantis and others.

Triantis is also on the radar of Socceroos boss Graham Arnold.

Valkanis lands job with Israeli giants

Former Melbourne City head coach Michael Valkanis is back in the coaching world with Hapoel Tel Aviv.

Valkanis is the first Australian to coach Hapoel or in the Israeli Premier League.

The former Adelaide United defender was previously in charge of KAS Eupen in Belgium, where he helped the club avoid relegation from the first division in 2022 after being promoted from assistant.

Prior to that, he had spent two-and-a-half years as John van’ t Schip’s assistant with Greece.

“I am excited about being the head coach of one of the most successful clubs in Israel, which has such a glorious history,” Valkanis said. “With hard and joint work, we will bring the club back to its rightful place.”

Hapoel’s head of football operations Hen Sol said: “Michael will bring with him his professional abilities and experience while emphasizing the development of young players.”

Last season, Hapoel finished 10th in the 14-team league as Maccabi Haifa won the title.

Hapoel have won 13 championships, though they have not celebrated a league title since 2009-10. Only Maccabi Tel Aviv (23) and Maccabi Haifa (15) have more Israeli Premier Leagues to their name.