Carley says Garang Kuol made a mockery of at least one former A-League defender in a pre-season friendly. 

“We played NPL powerhouse Dandenong City in a pre-season friendly before COVID hit,” says Carley, himself a goalscoring legend in the regional NPL arena. 

“[Former Socceroo] Sasa Ognenovski is the coach there and Garang came on and just ran past [former A-League defender] Adrian Leijer like he wasn’t there. 

“For a 15-year-old to do that… I spoke to Sasa and said this kid [Garang] is going to be something special as well.” 

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Talent is one thing. Charisma is another. 

Dull A-League post-match interviews were given a shot of personality with Koul’s chat on Friday night following a 0-0 F3 derby draw with the Jets. 

“Hearing him after the game, that’s exactly Alou. He’s unique. I’ve never heard him say a bad word about anyone. He loves football and life,” says Carley. 

“[Though] from time to time we’ve had to have words,” cautions his mentor. 

“And I’m certainly trying to get him to take things more seriously the last couple of years, and football-wise he has done that. 

“What you saw on Friday night after the game was typical Alou, and that’s why we love him.

“He’s a breath of fresh air and I think the whole of Australia football will embrace him, particularly when he starts scoring some goals.” 

Adding to Kuol’s appealing backstory, the new A-League striker was at sessions with Goulburn during the lockdown as they trained under COVID protocols. 

He was also taking some shifts at Shepparton cafe The Deck before returning to Central Coast. 

“He was working in the Deck’s kitchen… he's the self-proclaimed chicken wings expert!" adds Carley. 

“Alou is just a brilliant story. He’ll get better and better with more minutes on the pitch. 

“I believe he can go to Europe and have a successful career.

“If I’m honest I thought he looked pretty nervous on Friday night. And the overall quality of the game wasn’t that impressive either. 

“Alou worked hard and will get better with more game time,” said Carley. 

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FTBL’s scouting network was alerted to African-born Kuol last year. 

And Kuol is not the only rising star with African heritage making a mark in the A-League.

A few examples include Mohammed Toure (Guinea) at Adelaide, who debuted in the A-League aged 15 this season.