Sports News of Thursday, 31 December 2015
Wellington winger Kwabena Appiah admits he feels for the beleaguered Central Coast Mariners and believes the struggling club can turn things around soon.
The Phoenix take on the Mariners on New Year’s Eve at Central Coast Stadium in a vital encounter, with the NSW club recording just one win so far in the 2015-2016 season.
Appiah spent time at the Mariners in the National Youth League three years ago, where he was coached by current club boss Tony Walmsley.
That youth team, containing Mustafa Amini, Tom Rogic, Mitchell Duke, Anthony Caceres and Appiah, took the 2011-2012 NYL title.
The 23-year-old told FourFourTwo it is tough to see his old club and former coach at the foot of the A-League ladder.
“Walmsley is the one that gave me my shot, so it isn’t good to see him and the club down where they are,” Appiah said.
“They have a lot of quality in Caceres, Fabio (Ferreira), (Nick) Fitzgerald and Storm (Roux) to name a few, so I’m sure they’ll have a stronger second half of the season.”
Appiah joined Wellington in February after leaving the Wanderers and has managed five appearances this season, all coming off the bench.
The Phoenix is coming off a 3-0 loss to Adelaide United, and the Kiwi outfit has won once in its past six games.
Wellington has slipped down to sixth place, and Appiah said the New Year Eve’s fixture is important.
“As a group we’ve been playing some fantastic football, but we just haven’t shut the games down which has cost us some vital points,” he said.
“But I’m more than confident we will get the little things right and finish the season very strong.
“Every game is important, but the game against the Mariners will be important going into the New Year and getting us back to winning ways.”
Appiah is off-contract at the end of the current campaign and has found first-team opportunities limited behind the likes of Roy Krishna, Jeffrey Sarpong and Blake Powell.
The former Western Sydney attacker was injured at the start of the season but said he is now getting back to his best.
“Things are starting to come together now,” Appiah said.
“I had a niggly injury at the start, but now everything’s coming together. The Mariners will be ready and hungry for a victory to go into the New Year, so we have to be at our best to get a positive result.”