‘They should worry about us too’: Khamis’ Canberra ready for Wanderers battle

Leena Khamis knows the size of the task facing Canberra United but is adamant in-form Western Sydney Wanderers should also be worried about facing the fearless Green Machine.

Canberra take on the Westfield W-League’s most-lethal attack in the Wanderers in a Boxing Day blockbuster in the nation’s capital on Thursday night.

The Wanderers have been the competition’s big improvers in 2019/20, moving up from the bottom of the ladder last season to sit in second spot, unbeaten and putting five unanswered goals past Sydney FC last weekend.

But Heather Garriock’s new-look United squad have also been turning heads this campaign to sit in the top four as we approach the halfway point of the season.

Khamis, who played for the Wanderers last season, is well aware of the threat in the Red and Black ranks but is confident of the quality in her team as well.

“They [the Wanderers] have a lot of strength all over the park but we have to stick to our game plan. We have a game plan and we have some strengths as well,” Khamis told w-league.com.au on Tuesday.

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“As much as we have been conceding, we have been scoring a lot of goals as well so I think that’s one of our strengths, going forward and scoring goals.

“I think they have to be worried about us too.

“It’s a big game. They are a team that’s having a great start to the season, a team with confidence and playing well.

“But if you want to be the best you have to beat the best.

“We’re going to be up for the battle and we definitely think we can match them.”


After a couple of lean seasons in the Westfield W-League, the 2019/20 campaign has been one of resurgence for United.

And it should probably come as no surprise it’s coincided with the acquisition of Khamis, who is one of the most experienced players in the Westfield W-League.

The 33-year-old won a Championship (2009) and two Premierships (2009 and 2010/11) with the Sydney FC in the past and is enjoying a new lease of life since moving south.

The move to Canberra not only reunited the 25-cap Westfield Matilda with Heather Garriock, but allows her to play alongside younger sister and United shot-stopper Sham.

“Heather was a big part of (coming to Canberra). I’ve played with her, played against her and now for her. She knows what she can get from me on and off the field,” Khamis explained.

“The other part was Sham. I don’t know how much left I have in me but to have another season together is special for myself, for her and my family.

“We are living together with a couple of other girls in the team in big house. It’s pretty fun.

“We’ve lived together before so it’s nothing new but I’m sure she’ll say she loves having my around…or I’ll make her say it.

I’m having fun, I don’t know how much longer I have to go, I play each game like it’s my last and I’m actually really enjoying it.

I’m playing well so the girls are definitely keeping my on my toes down here.”

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Canberra have defied most of the experts’ predictions to be right in the finals hunt as the calendar gets ready to turn over to 2020.

Khamis admits the squad had been aware if the doubters and relish being written off in most circles.

We were one of the underdog teams. We knew on paper that people thought we weren’t going to be good enough,” she said.

“But we have a great bunch, a versatile bunch and we’re definitely the underdogs but we’ll take it. We’re definitely finals contenders for this season, hopefully we keep it up for the next round of games.

We just have a good mixture of experience, some internationals, some great youth, some great local players and everyone gets a long so well.

“Our team culture is awesome down here. It starts from our coaches and filters down.”

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Thursday, 26 December 2019
Kick-off: 7.30pm AEDT
Venue: McKellar Park 
Broadcast: FOX Sports
Stream: MyFootball Live App, Kayo Sports

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