Wanderers Young Gun Ready To Step Up

Kwabena Appiah-Kubi is looming large as a possible replacement for Youssouf Hersi this Sunday. He's confident and looking forward to battling former teammates.

Should the Wanderers be successful this Sunday, Kwabena Appiah-Kubi will have claimed every prize he can at a team level in Australian football at the age of just 20.

It-s not a bad effort from a player who at times hasn-t had the impact he would have liked this season; after coming to the Wanderers off the back of an outstanding year in the National Youth League in 2011/12 that saw he and his then Central Coast teammates claim the club-s second title in that competition.

This year he has already helped the Wanderers to the Premier-s Plate by making 12 appearances in the red and black, but it-s this week that he might be thrust straight into the bright spotlights that suit his personality.

There-s no doubting his confidence and with Youssouf Hersi getting suspended after two yellow cards in the grand final qualifier, Appiah-Kubi looms large as the man who will replace the always energetic Ethiopian on the right-side of Western Sydney-s midfield.

He-s done it before when Hersi has been injured or suspended, and having filled in for him in the latest addition of the Sydney derby, he-s accustomed to doing so in big matches and hopes Tony Popovic recognises that by selecting him in Hersi-s place on the right of the Wanderers- midfield.

“You don-t really like to celebrate getting the opportunity at someone else-s expense but in the end that-s football and hopefully the coach has the confidence to start me,” Appiah-Kubi said.

Despite the high-pressure nature of the week, Appiah said it hasn-t hit him yet - but the banter has, with some of his former teammates already hitting him up with text messages and tweets. Appiah Kubi admitting he is keen to do battle with them.

“Hopefully it (the magnitude of the occasion) hits me earlier (in the week) so I can get pumped up for it, but I-ll be ready for it whether I start the game or not.

“I-ll be playing against a few of my mates, Bernie, Dukey , Caceras and Matty (Mariners keeper Mat Ryan) so it will be a great encounter. It would be good to get one past Matty, he is a fantastic keeper, he-s one of the best in the country and has a massive future, hopefully I can get one past him.”

That task may be easier said than done. The Mariners have a much-vaunted defence and with good reason, they are organised and stick to their structures, but their record in deciders is appalling. Appiah hopes it is a trend that continues this weekend and that maybe he can grab all the titles available in Australian professional football by the age of 20.

“They are going to be a very tough match, no doubt about that, they are a compact unit with a great tactical coach in Graham Arnold; but the Mariners have been unlucky throughout the years, hopefully that luck is still out,” Appiah quipped.

Maybe I-m a bit of a good-luck charm for my side as well, I won the National Youth League last year with the Mariners and won the Premiership here with the Wanderers, and am just one game away from the grand final win with the Wanderers, if I do that I-ve won every major championship I can in this country.”

How he can do that is mostly reliant on the tactics coach Tony Popovic comes up with and Appiah could play a role in getting in-behind the Mariners- defence with his pace, especially if Josh Rose ‘bombs on- up the left side and can-t get back, a smiling Appiah gave little away though.

“That-s one area we could hurt them, but we will discuss throughout the week how we can win this game.

“We have a few ideas how we can work on the Mariners and it-s down to us taking our chances.”