FFA Cup: Viking Park to host Canberra Olympic-Sydney FC blockbuster
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FFA Cup: Viking Park to host Canberra Olympic-Sydney FC blockbuster

Viking Park will host the next chapter of Canberra Olympic's fairytale FFA Cup run against A-League powerhouse Sydney FC on October 19.

The Wanniassa venue was deemed the most appropriate with Olympic expecting a crowd up to 7000 people for the semi-final clash.

Canberra footballers Jeremy Habtemariam, Jordan Tsekenis and Andrew Slavich joined coach Luka Udjur in a Central Coast Mariners camp.

Canberra footballers Jeremy Habtemariam, Jordan Tsekenis and Andrew Slavich joined coach Luka Udjur in a Central Coast Mariners camp.Credit:Central Coast Mariners

The only other option was Canberra Stadium, but the 25,000-seat stadium would require a significant financial outlay from the club.

The expected crowd would see Canberra Stadium just over a quarter full at best, while the much smaller Viking Park will likely be heaving when Olympic take on the A-League club.

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And now one of Sydney's fiercest rivals, the Central Coast Mariners, are helping a pair of Olympic youngsters to plot the Sky Blues' downfall.

Olympic duo Jeremy Habtemariam and Jordan Tsekenis have joined Tuggeranong United's Andrew Slavich on the Central Coast for a week-long camp with the Mariners.

Olympic won through to the tournament's final four when goalkeeper Angelo Konstantinou converted a penalty after Habtemariam was brought down in the box.

Konstantinou became a social media sensation after nailing a penalty earlier in the tournament, and given the shot-stopper's strike-rate there was no chance Habtemariam would steal the spotlight.

"He does the job every time so everyone felt pretty confident when he stepped up," Habtemariam said.

"Nobody really believed after going down to 10 men that we could even get a win. The boys just kept working I guess and it paid off eventually.

"Through to the last four which is good, and against Sydney FC so everyone is pretty pumped – it's pretty surreal."

Habtemariam said he would be looking to take his Mariners experience into the do-or-die fixture as the amateurs look to stun the professionals.

"You can't get an experience like this unless you're actually there," Habtemariam said.

"There's nothing else really that you can do that will be the same as coming in here and training with a professional team, so I think we will be prepared."

With Olympic players earning recognition on the national stage through their dream run in the FFA Cup, Tsekenis says the opportunity to train with the Mariners opens yet another window.

"It's a pathway out of Canberra," Tsekenis said.

"We don't have an A-League team so something like this is a great opportunity to get out, become A-League players – Socceroos eventually – so it's a great opportunity for us."

The Canberra trio were plucked from a trial game for Capital Football select sides against the Mariners alongside Belconnen coach Luka Udjur.

Slavich was laying in bed when he got the call-up, in disbelief after having what he calls "an average game" in the trial.

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After getting a taste of the life of a professional footballer, Slavich's goal is simply to "bring it home".

"What you learn here in this week you can learn in six months in Canberra so I just want to get my knowledge and bring it into next season hopefully and improve from there," Slavich said.