Cooma Tigers win Capital Football NPL championship for first time

Cooma Tigers win Capital Football NPL championship for first time

It's an achievement 63 years in the making.

The Cooma Tigers are league champions for the first time in the club's history and have booked themselves a spot in the Australia-wide National Premier League finals.

 Cooma celebrates the win on Sunday.

Cooma celebrates the win on Sunday.

The Tigers defied both the elements and their closest rivals Belconnen United to record an emphatic 3-0 win over the Blue Devils at a rain-affected Nijong Oval on Sunday.

Their 12th victory from 15 games this season gives the Tigers an unassailable five-point lead in the Capital Football NPL over the Blue Devils at the top of the table with one round remaining.


Established in 1952 by the workforce of the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme, the Tigers won Premier League grand finals in 2006 and 2012 but the league championship had eluded them.

Until now.

Delighted Tigers coach Gaby Wilk believes his side can not only capture the league championship-grand final double but has set his sights on a deep run in the NPL finals against the best semi-professional teams in the country.

"I want to win everything,'' Wilk said.

"With these players anything is possible.

"The NPL finals are very important ... I want to take Cooma to champions of Australia.''

After losing two of their first three games this season, the Tigers embarked on a 10-game winning streak before needing a 90th-minute equaliser for a 2-2 draw with the FFA Centre of Excellence last weekend.

They carried that momentum into their crucial encounter with the Blue Devils, with Goran Josifovski opening the scoring in just the 13th minute.

Josifovski completed his brace five minutes into the second half, before Robbie Cattanach put the icing on the cake with a goal in injury time.

"It's very, very special because the club has a very proud history and this is something that's eluded us,'' Josifovski said.

"We're a family, from the coach to the players to the board to all the sponsors and supporters.

"We needed this and we've got it, thank God.''

Josifovski is in his fifth season with the Tigers and is looking forward to facing the best NPL clubs from around Australia.

"That's a great opportunity for Cooma and all of the other champions of the NPL,'' Josifovski said.

"It's a great honour to represent the ACT and I hope we can do them proud.''

The Tigers round out their season next weekend when they face Canberra City, which continued its impressive form with a 3-3 draw with finals-bound Canberra Olympic at O'Connor Enclosed.


Meanwhile, Belconnen United secured the league championship in the women's premier league after trouncing ANU 8-0.

SUNDAY: Capital Football National Premier League: Cooma Tigers 3 (Goran Josifovski 13', 50', Robbie Cattanach 91') bt Belconnen United 0 at Nijong Oval. Canberra Olympic 3 (Daniel Barac, Robbie Deeley, Mark Shields) drew Canberra City 3 (Deng Aleer Deng, Adam Dobell, Misko Naumoski) at O'Connor Enclosed.

Lee Gaskin is a sports reporter at The Canberra Times.

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