Against all odds Pitt Town FC’s young warriors ready for Champion of Champions finale


Training on tennis courts as well using a player’s front yard to keep the team fit and raring to go, Nepean FA’s Pitt Town FC 14 Boys side have done the unthinkable by reaching this Sunday’s Champion of Champions finals against all odds.

Taking on Football South Coast’s Shellharbour JFC at Valentine Sports Park, the road to VSP was one of true grit, determination and will power the Pitt Town crew possessed in getting to the big dance.

With damaging floods that hit Sydney prior to the grassroots season commencing, Pitt Town’s home ground was left devastated and unplayable, something coach Mark Chidel and his young troops had to put up with for the entire season.

“At the start of the season, we had no ground allocated to us, so we were training in the front yard of one of the boy’s homes but when the flood hit this was no longer possible.

“It was also not possible to use our home fields at Pitt Town Sports Club and Oakville Reserve as they were just too wet and soft pretty much the entire season.

“We were basically a club without a home field but as a team were determined to not let this stop us.

“We trained on fields loaned to us by Bligh Park FC (Berger Road Reserve) and when this was not possible, we used a local indoor facility (PCYC South Windsor) and old tennis courts.

“We trained the entire season this way and all our games except one semi-final were also played away from home.

“Logistically this was hard as we were constantly moving about, and it was sometimes hard to know week to week where we would be, but we made it work.

“On top of all this there was also the added cost to parents paying for indoor court hire.”

The achievement alone of making the long journey to Valentine Sports Park against all odds to take part in Football NSW’s most prestigious grassroots knockout competition was something that Chidel states was an unbelievable effort by his players who also took out the 14 Boys Premiership and Nepean FA Cup along the way.

“I’m proud beyond words and I get a bit emotional thinking about it.

“I look at the team they have become and the way they now play together with such admiration and pride.

“It really is incredible when you think about where we started eight months ago as a group of boys to where we are now together as a team.

“This is huge for the club, getting a team into the Champion of Champions was big and possibly a first for Pitt Town FC but to now have a team in the grand final is amazing. Grassroots football does not get any bigger than this and we could not be prouder of the boys.

“As excited as we were about making the Champion of Champions, it almost felt by qualifying for the tournament we had achieved what we had set out to accomplish this season. I had no idea the journey would get even more exciting. At the start of each week of the tournament we were thinking that it could be our last but here we are at the very end which is absolutely amazing. The Champion of Champions tournament has been such a fantastic thrill for us to play in, it’s hard to explain but I don’t think anybody really expected us to win so I guess there hasn’t really been any pressure on us, it really has just been a whole lot of fun.

“After a bye in first round, second round was against Cronulla Seagulls FC over at Cronulla. This was a much bigger club from a much bigger association, so our boys were definitely seen as underdogs. It was an early morning start all the way over at Cronulla, but I think that helped to switch the boys on as they played a top game and won 3-1.

“Our 3rd Round opponent was against a neighbouring Hills Association club, Castle Hill United. Another big club from a strong association. The boys came from behind twice to eventually secure the win off the very last header in the game. At 2-2 the boys won a corner with 30 seconds remaining. A brilliantly placed corner was headed in and the referee blew her whistle for fulltime. The boys won 3-2.

“The semi-final was against Maccabi Hakoah, a semi professional football club who had only lost one game all season and won their competition by 13 points. It was a hot day and due to injuries Pitt Town only had one substitute player while Maccabi had five. The match was at Heffron Park which is a massive field, bigger than anything the boys were used to playing on. It was a warm day, lots of running. Team and coach knew this would be a tough game but had formulated a game plan to counter the passing and possession game we expected Maccabi to play. Boys executed the plan to perfection and dominated the first half going into the break 1-0 up. Boys scored first in second half to go up 2-0 but as the game went on Maccabi Hakoah lifted. You could see the effect of the warm weather, large field, lack of substitutions and slick passing game from Maccabi was taking its toll on the boys and they conceded a goal with six minutes to go. This made for a trilling end to the game as the boys were desperate to hold on as they didn’t know if they would have the legs to go to extra time. Finally, the whistle blew, and the boys won 2-1. This was a very special win for us and I think it was the best I have ever seen the boys play.”

Having coached for ten years now, Chidel stated that it was his son’s involvement with the game that brought to the dugout.

“I started coaching my son’s team in the under 5’s moving up each year to where we are today.

“It goes without saying that this year has been the most rewarding.

“The success had been great but working with this group of boys and seeing them develop into such a good team and such good mates has been tremendously rewarding.”