Mustafa Amini is about to embark on the football journey of a lifetime as he prepares to leave Central Coast.
Mustafa Amini is about to embark on the football journey of a lifetime, not bad for a 19-year-old from Sydney-s Western Suburbs, who grew up on a diet of dreams and is now making them come true.
Almost as quickly as he was plucked from the AIS program by then Central Coast Mariners coach Lawrie McKinna, Amini made a name for himself and attracted the interest of current Bundesliga champions and European giants Borussia Dortmund, where he will join another future Socceroo in Mitch Langerak.
And for Amini-s part he still has to pinch himself a little, just to make sure he-s not dreaming, but here-s the reality.
At 19 he is joining the reigning German champs, German Cup winners and a UEFA Champions League club, not bad for someone who has played just 40 games in the Hyundai A-League.
Amini knows he-s lucky, but there has been a lot of hard work put in to get to where he is at and the amazingly level-headed teenager is adamant he won-t stop working.
“Is it a dream come true? Absolutely it is,” Amini said.
“To join the club, it-s massive. They have won the Bundesliga two years in a row, they knocked off Bayern Munich (who are in the Champions League Final) and they have just beaten them again in the German Cup final.
“They are a young side too, the average age is 25 and they are getting better and better.
“Last week they got the record, when they won 4-0, for the most points ever in the Bundesliga, it-s exciting to join them.
“I-m going there to learn and if I get my chance hopefully I can take it.
“The football is much faster and technically better, and an all-round better league, some of the games have 80,000 people there. I-m going to have to get fitter and faster but that will come with the pre-season, hopefully I can just work on all my weaknesses.”
If Amini does have a weakness it is likely a lack of physicality; which comes with his youth and could be exploited by some of the bigger bodies in the A-League.
Allegedly that was the reason Graham Arnold didn-t select him for the final match of the Mariners season against Perth Glory.
That loss is still raw for Amini and the Mariners players, and when asked about the club not having won a grand final yet, there was a heavy sigh from the youngster before he answered.
“It-s not good, it hurts,” he said.
“I think we should have been in the grand final again this year, but in other countries around the world, the Premiership is the biggest award, but in Australia there are grand finals and everyone wants to win one, hopefully the boys get one next year.
“Taking out the Premier-s Plate, having a second bite at the cherry and not making it and then to lose in a shootout, and having the penalty during the game where Patrick Zwaanswijk hit the woodwork, that doesn-t help... but I guess that-s football.”
While there has been pain in his stint at the Mariners Amini reckons there has been plenty of pleasure too and he-s taking that with him when he goes, hopefully after a round of 16 AFC Champions League encounter against Adelaide United.
“I want to leave here on a good note, I was happy to have my last home game be a win and I ended up scoring as well, which is good for me and if we can go to Japan and win that and then take on Adelaide that would be amazing,” he said.
“There have been a lot of good parts to my time at the club, from training week in week out and signing for Dortmund. if I never had the chance at the Mariners I wouldn-t be heading overseas and I have to thank Lawrie McKinna too, for spotting me and signing me to the club and then Arnie gave me the chance to play.
“The club is good and I think they will keep moving forward and with Arnie staying they will have plenty of recruitment, have a good squad and can win the grand final and hopefully do well in the ACL as well.”
That recruitment has seen plenty of brilliant youngsters come through the ranks with Amini, Tom Rogic, Bernie Ibini and Mat Ryan come to mind, and it-s the latter that Amini believes will make his mark on a much grander stage soon enough.
“I think he (Ryan) will be gone soon, he has had two years in the A-League and both years he has done extremely well and won the NAB Young Player, Under 20 Player, best Keeper in the league and Mariners Medal, if he goes overseas I just hope he finds the right fit.”
As for Amini he believes his biggest hurdle might be learning the local dialect, but is pretty happy Mitch Langerak will have his back when he arrives in Germany.
"I think i-ll be ok, I've just got to learn the language, Micth Langerak is there and it-s great to have another Aussie. When I was on trial there we went out for lunch and eveything like that and he looked after me, so I should have a great experience."