Welcome to 2019: the last year of the 21st century’s teens.
Ask anyone over 30 and they’ll tell you this century has been an age of lazy narcissism (read: Instagram, Facebook, mobile phones, the internet and Uber Eats)
But while our epoch is shaking off the last of the acne and applying for Newstart, some Australian teens are training seven hours a day and shipping overseas for a chance at footballing immortality.
The New Year means it’s been another 12 months since the golden generation illuminated our hearts and living rooms, but with more promising young Aussies then you can poke a selfie stick at, is another golden age on the horizon?
Every Socceroo fan is hoping that in a decade’s time, we look back at 2018 as the year that unearthed Daniel Arzani. What will 2019 be?
The most fruitful prospect in the footballing cornucopia that is Melbourne City football club, 18-year-old Najjarine has just begun to break through under Warren Joyce and so far we like what we see.
Rumoured to be internally regarded as an even brighter prospect than his former teammate Arzani, Najjarine possesses the same silky skills and excellent mobility as the Socceroo, but at 176 centimetres tall and weighing over 70kg, there’s a little more ‘rainy Tuesday night at Stoke’ to him as well.
When Akbari was first called up to the Joeys, his father laid out just how much it meant to the entire family, who emigrated to Australia from Afghanistan when the now-18-year-old was five.
“If we were still in Afghanistan or Pakistan this would never have happened,” he said. “Back there we couldn’t even go to a proper school or get educated.”
At 185 centimetres and still growing, Akbari is now another solid-built, naturally-gifted A-League wunderkind, product of Brisbane Roar’s youth system but right at home at Melbourne Victory.
Despite the Big V boasting one of the finest attacking lineups the competition has ever seen, Akbari already has five appearances this season. What he can learn from the likes of Keisuke Honda is mouth-watering…