The Sydney suburb of Leichhardt will be home to a David vs Golaith battle in the FFA Cup next month when Leichhardt Saints take on APIA Leichhardt Tigers.
The two local clubs, who have never met before in a competitive fixture, will lock horns in the fourth round of the competition at APIA’s home ground of Lambert Park on April 5.
The amateur club Saints, which were founded in the 1970s with roots from the area’s PCYC club and now play in the Canterbury District Football Association, are hoping to shock their semi-professional neighbours.
APIA were founded by Italian-Australians in 1954 and for many years were part of the NSL. Now playing in the NPL NSW, several Socceroos have come through the club’s ranks in the past including Massimo Luongo, Joe Marston and Brad Maloney.
Saints president Andrew Mandaglio said his club are excited about the prestigious fixture.
“This will be the highest calibre and level opponent the club had ever faced,” he told FourFourTwo.
“Historically this match brings together Leichhardt’s traditional clubs. APIA founded its club based on Italian culture at one end of Norton Street and the Saints had its club at the other end of the street. APIA went professional and the Saints remain an amateur club.
“After nearly 85 years the two clubs that cultured football in the inner west will meet for the first time. Our club has always had Italian roots, particularly our two senior sides. Ironically our club’s coaches and captains most were former APIA boys and of Italian origin.”
The Saints, who train one night a week at Rozelle’s King Georges Park, left the Sydney Amateur Football League at the end of last tear.
Despite being massive underdogs they won’t rake a backward step against APIA, who are currently unbeaten and in second spot in the NPL NSW top flight.
“The club’s philosophy is no regrets,” Mandaglio said.
“We play to win. That said we are well prepared with our head coach David Marocchi is very knowledgeable and experienced. The idea is to play with courage and to leave everything out on the pitch.”
Mandaglio would love a bumper crowd for the derby fixture.
“Hopefully with good weather we can attract a the loyal APIA fanbase together with our WAGs and ex-players, who are known to throw one hell of a BBQ at our Saturday afternoon home games at King George’s Park,” he said.
“It should be a night for Leichhardt and the locals. It would be good to see a packed stand.”