MACLEAY’S soccer teams will get plenty of match time tomorrow as they play in the 37th annual Nambucca Challenge Cup.
The Kempsey Saints and the Macleay Valley Rangers will each play four games tomorrow with the aim of making it through to Sunday’s finals.
Each game consists of 15 minute halves with a total of 13 teams set to take part, ranging from Coffs Harbour to West Pymble.
The tournament holds special significance for the Saints who were last year crowned the winners of the Challenge Cup.
With this his side’s first chance to play against other teams in the pre season, new saints coach, Barry Horsfall, said this weekend will be a good indicator of where his team are at in the lead up to the season start.
“I expect it to be a big learning curve for me,” Horsfall said.
“Having won the cup last year, I’m sure there will probably be a bit of a spotlight on some of the players to perform, but I don’t think it is necessary to complicate things at this stage.
“I take comfort from the fact that the team’s fitness is better than it was at this time last year and I know the players will try their best tomorrow. We have picked up a new centre back so it will be a good chance to see how he goes with the rest of the squad.”
Unlike the Saints, the Rangers have had the chance to test their skills against other teams since they began training and are coming into the challenge cup on the back of a win against Orara FC, last week.
Coach, Peter Henry, said the format of the Nambucca Cup means it is a different sort of challenge to what the team experiences in trial games.
“The team have been looking forward to the Nambucca cup since they started training six weeks ago,” Henry said.
“Having seen the draw, we play four strong clubs who always produce good players in well organised teams, while the short game requires us to produce good attacking football, and sustain the performance over the four games.
“We hope the supporters who travel, will be entertained and enjoy the tournament style football format.”