Western Sydney Wanderers players had extra reason to impress in training on Tuesday with a UEFA Champions League winner on hand to watch their session.
Meanwhile, there’s been some exciting news for a former Sydney FC prodigy and a Wanderers new recruit is focussing on enjoying his football again.
It's all in this edition of Hyundai A-League Paper Talk!
SPECIAL GUEST ARRIVES AT WANDERLAND
There was a surprise guest at Wanderers training on Tuesday with ex-Liverpool and German international Dietmar Hamann dropping in to watch the squad go through their paces.
Hamann, who is in Australia on holiday, was invited down by his former Reds and Germany teammate – and current Wanderers boss - Markus Babbel.
The pair played together at Liverpool between 2000 and 2004, helping the Reds win the treble (FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup) in 2001.
Hamann, one of the best defensive midfielders in the world during his heyday, watched the session before catching up with Babbel, who is preparing for his first competitive match in charge of the Wanderers against Hellenic AC in the FFA Cup next Tuesday night.
ENJOYMENT KEY FOR PACY WINGER
Still on the Wanderers, and one of their new recruits is hopeful of making an instant impact at Wanderland after a frustrating campaign with Melbourne City in 2017/18.
Bruce Kamau failed to lock-down a spot in Warren Joyce’s starting side last season, deciding to swap Melbourne for Sydney’s west in a bid to reignite his Hyundai A-League career.
The 23-year-old, who was part of Adelaide United’s Championship-winning squad in 2016, was originally signed by ex-Wanderers boss Josep Gombau but is enjoying his time under Babbel.
"So far I've been enjoying Western Sydney, the club, the team, the coaches and every aspect about it," Kamau told Western Sydney Wanderers’ official website.
"I'm looking forward to a successful season. As a team we're striving to win trophies.
"Individually for myself it's about having the best season possible and getting back to enjoying football really, that's something key for myself.”
Kamau added on the German boss: “He's a bit quiet and watches over the sessions more where JP (Jean-Paul de Marigny), the assistant coach, will run the sessions a bit more.
"But definitely he'll add his input and when he does speak it's high value and important stuff he wants to talk to us about.
"I'm enjoying working under him, he's an approachable guy, friendly, and he's got a wealth of experience we can tap into."
SCHOLARSHIP FOR EX-SKY BLUE NAUMOFF
It’s been a tough few years for ex-Sydney FC attacker Chris ‘Kiki’ Naumoff, who was forced into retirement at just 21 after a medical discovered he heart a a potentially fatal heart condition.
While his dream of playing professional football was over, Naumoff has since channelled his energies into coaching and has been recognised by the PFA as a Coaching Scholarship winner last month.
It means the 23-year-old will get the chance to gain knowledge in the world of coaching, most likely at a high-profile professional football club overseas.
The PFA Coaching Scholarship is awarded to a PFA Member that has demonstrated a profound commitment in pursuit of coaching excellence.
“I have put great effort and time into my coaching career and to be given this award will add more experience and knowledge to what I have learned so far,” Naumoff said on the PFA’s site.
“The scholarship will allow me to experience a professional environment and see the finer details of what is involved in a successful club. It will allow me to use the things learnt both on and off the pitch to work towards being a better coach.”