Football Queensland is excited to announce that Olympic FC’s Ben Cahn and Alex Bundalo of Gold Coast United have been named Head Coaches of the NPL All-Stars and Queensland State Team Men’s and Women’s squads for the upcoming Kappa Festival of Football.
The pair will prepare and lead their teams in two blockbuster double-headers against Brisbane Roar at Dolphin Stadium on 5 December and New South Wales at Perry Park on 12 December.
“Ben and Alex are excellent coaches known for building strong cultures and high-performing teams. In the end-of-season voting undertaken by their peers, they were recognised as being the standout National Premier Leagues (NPL) Queensland coaches in 2020,” Football Queensland CEO Robert Cavallucci said.
“Ben has just guided Olympic to the club’s third consecutive NPL Men’s Grand Final appearance, while Alex did a magnificent job in leading Gold Coast United to the NPL Women’s Premiership.
“Football Queensland congratulates them both and looks forward to seeing our teams produce highly competitive and entertaining performances against Brisbane Roar and New South Wales during the Kappa Festival of Football.”
FQ can also confirm that Aaron Philp from Peninsula Power has accepted the opportunity to support Cahn as an Assistant Coach to the Men’s squad, while Lions FC’s Rob Askew will bring further experience to the Women’s squad as an Assistant Coach to Bundalo.
State Technical Gabor Ganczer and FQ’s QAS Coach Mentor Rae Dower have taken on advisory roles.
Cahn, now in his third season in charge of Olympic, said: “We’ve got some really top players in Queensland and I’m looking forward to working with them to try to achieve something that we can all remember.
“My job is about making sure everybody enjoys themselves. We want to provide an environment where everyone can quickly come together and we want to give each of the players a chance to showcase themselves as best they can. Obviously, for the New South Wales game in particular, we’ll be taking it seriously and preparing to win.
“Queensland is very much in my blood and I’m really honoured and privileged and excited to represent Queensland.”
Bundalo, who just concluded his first season with United’s table-topping Women’s side, said: “I’m really excited. It’s going to be a great spectacle for the game. I’m really looking forward to being involved with Rob Askew and Rae Dower – rubbing shoulders with the calibre of those people on a personal note is fantastic for me.
“On a team note, I’m looking forward to the challenge and with the players we’ve got there’s no reason we cannot beat the opponents, and that will be the objective.
“It’s so good to see that NPL Women’s players have got the call-up to the Roar – with Jake Goodship at the helm, we’re all on the same page – and it’s also an opportunity for the girls that are playing against the Roar and New South Wales to put their hands up and be noticed as well.
“They will be great games, very competitive games I’m sure, played in good spirits and a showcase of the talent we have. That’s what it’s all about. I think this Festival of Football is a highlight at the end of the year and one to grow and promote over the next three years in the build-up to the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
“To be working with Football Queensland, the quality of coaches that are involved – a brilliant young coach with a big future ahead in Ben Cahn, Rob Askew who has been consistently successful for so many years – I’m just looking forward to working with that calibre of coach and sharing ideas for the benefit of the game in our state.”