Timor Leste – making friends with Australian football


Last Saturday night, Club president Tony Campolongo and Football Chairman Vince Foti, hosted a contingent form Australia?s Timorese community, to watch the game between Marconi and another former national champion club, the Wollongong Wolves.
Consul-General for Timor Leste in Australia, Mr. Abel Guterres, and the president of the Timorese Australian Council, Mr. Carlos Pereira, were guests at the game, and were able to watch Timor Leste international Alfredo Mousinho-Esteves turn out for the Wollongong club.
The solid defender, who has played most of his career in Portugal, had an outstanding game for the Wolves, as they earned an away point against the Stallions, in a hard-fought 1-1 draw.
Mr. Guterres and Mr. Pereira were also impressed by a great goal from Marconi?s Nahuel Arrarte, who is looking to play for Timor Leste in the near future. 
Arrarte?s wife is of Timorese descent, and the Timorese are on the lookout for new players as they prepare themselves for a climb up the FIFA rankings.
Marconi?s Chris Nunes, an Australian youth international and product of the AIS, is also of Timorese descent, and had an outstanding game in front of the visiting dignitaries.
?We had a fantastic night and cannot thank the Marconi people enough,? said Mr. Guterres. 
?Nahuel?s free-kick goal was world-class, and Alfredo and Chris both had fine games.  You could say it was a good night for Timor all round,? added the Consul-General, an avid football fan.
Timor Leste is FIFA?s newest member nation, ranked 202 on the FIFA rankings. 
The young country recently played in the World Cup for the first time, being beaten soundly by Hong Kong in the second leg of a two-leg playoff, after a solid performance where they went down narrowly by the odd goal in the first leg.
?We had hoped to play our first leg game in Australia,? said Mousinho-Esteves.
?But that was not to be.  I hope for the future of football in my country, we can build stronger ties with our neighbours Australia, and learn more from them.?
The Timorese international played 20 minutes as a guest player for Sydney FC in 2007 and impressed.  He hopes to get a crack at an A-League club contract.
?It would be great to have a Timorese player in the A-League,? said Mr. Guterres. 
?It would help the game greatly in our country?.
In a post-match ceremony, attended by over two hundred corporate guests and players, Mr. Guterres and Alfredo, presented traditional Timorese scarves to Mr. Campolongo, Mr. Foti, Nahuel Arrarte, Chris Nunes, and Marconi coach David Barrett.
-By Caterina Polistina