Football club makes history by gifting 14-year-old goalkeeper his debut against A-League side

Fairytale moment football club go down in history as they gift the 14-year-old goalkeeper his debut against A-League side Macarthur FC – his mum admits she was a nervous wreck

  • Oakleigh Cannons made history by debuting 14-year-old goalkeeper Ymer Abili
  • Abili came on as a late substitute against A-League side Macarthur FC
  • Oakleigh lost the match 5-2, but the young keeper kept a clean sheet

The Oakleigh Cannons’ fantastic run may be over – but their beaming 14-year-old goalkeeper Ymer Abili was still in dreamland in Melbourne today as the youngest football player to win the European Cup ‘Australia.

Less than 24 hours after fellow schoolboy Christopher Atherton became the youngest to feature in a senior game in the UK aged 13, youngster Abili has made his way into the annals of Australian rules football with his delightful appearance in the Cannons’ semi-final loss to Macarthur. .

With the semi-professional Victorian side’s romantic run about to end with the A-League men’s Macarthur leading 5-2 in their semi-final in the dying minutes, the Cannons coach, Chris Taylor, took the opportunity to give Abili, who usually plays for their Under-14s, his fairy tale moment.

Oakleigh Cannons made history by making his debut for 14-year-old goalkeeper Ymer Abili in their Australian Cup semi-final against A-League side Macarthur

Abili came on late with Macarthur leading 5-2.  Abili replaced experienced goalkeeper Lewis Italiano - who is more than double his age at 31

Abili came on late with Macarthur leading 5-2. Abili replaced experienced goalkeeper Lewis Italiano – who is more than double his age at 31

Taking him from the sub bench at the home of reserve Jack Edwards of Oakleigh, the youngster couldn’t keep the incredulous smile from his face as he was told to take the gloves back from experienced Cannons goalkeeper Lewis Italiano, who is more than twice Abili’s age at 31. .

After receiving a roaring welcome from home fans as he took on the Bulls power of ex-Man United football superstar Dwight Yorke, the even better news was that youngster Ymer did not concede again. of goals as Macarthur took the expected place in the final against Sydney United.

Explaining that the substitution had been pre-planned for the final moments should the Cannons come out, Abili told Network 10: “Eighty-fifth minute, I think. He [Taylor] said ‘warm up’ – I was buzzing, so happy!’

Abili received a roaring reception from home fans and managed to keep a clean sheet for the Oakleigh guns

Abili received a roaring reception from home fans and managed to keep a clean sheet for the Oakleigh guns

There was a nerve-wracking moment in the final seconds when Abili looked like he had to face a corner kick, but he just shrugged: “I was just excited to go on and make history, c ‘is all.”

And when asked if maybe he should have been brought in sooner, he shrugged with a smile: “I don’t know…Chris Taylor’s call, not mine!”

His mother, however, didn’t look so cool. “I was a nervous wreck,” she said. “I was nervous all night. I’m so proud of Ymer, he’s been training really, really hard for the past two years.

The Cannons saluted their young history maker with a celebratory tweet.

“We are extremely proud! What an amazing night to see our 14 year old keeper Abili make his debut!! A historic moment for our club and for the Australian Cup!!’

Abili couldn't help but smile and after the game he said he was delighted to make club history.  The Cannons tweeted:

Abili couldn’t help but smile and after the game he said he was delighted to make club history. The Cannons tweeted: “We are extremely proud!” What an amazing night to see our 14 year old keeper Abili make his debut!! A historic moment for our club and for the Australian Cup!!’

But not even Abili could match the feat from thousands of miles away as 13-year-old, 329-day-old Atherton broke a British football record that stood for 42 years when he was a second substitute period for Glenavon against Dollingstown in Northern Ireland. Ligue’s cup.

Even more extraordinary, his first touch was setting up his side’s final goal in their 6-0 win.

Atherton is almost a year younger than Britain’s youngest professional player record holder, Eamon Collins, who made his Blackpool debut aged 14 years and 323 days in 1980.

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton, whose son plays in the same junior team as Atherton, said: “He made his debut based on his ability and an award for the way he played through the age groups.”

“He’s only in his third year at school. We brought him in to train with the first team last year and he never seemed out of place.

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