Updated: Sep 5, 2021
In his short time with the Melbourne City FC first team, Stefan Colakovski has (quite rightly) etched his name into City folklore. We all know the story, from fan to fan-favourite, but do we all realise just how important he has been for us?
According to FBref, ‘Cola’ has only played an average of 18 minutes per match in the last regular season, yet somehow managed a pair of assists and a couple of goals as well. This is incredible considering the severe lack of time on the pitch at 345 mins in total. That is a goal involvement every 86 minutes - only bettered by Socceroo Jamie Maclaren who has one every 69 minutes! In the finals he did even better, with a goal involvement every 54 minutes - notching another goal and two assists.
For a 21-year-old showing so much promise - and more importantly, impact - these sorts of statistics turn heads. This may have contributed to why the young forward gained a call up to Macedonia’s U21 squad for their fixtures against France and Serbia in early September; two opponents where surely the world will be watching.
Colakovski's call-up may serve as a beacon that benefits other domestic-based young Aussies; Nathaniel Atkinson and Marco Tilio have already shown the world their abilities on the Olympic stage, but scouts may now be forced to look towards Australian shores to see where Colakovski developed his craft. Knowing the expansive network that the City Football Group maintains, we may see our club become a breeding ground for young Australians in foreign leagues – reinforcing our position as the best destination for young Aussie players.
With the reintroduction of international breaks in the next season, our players will be more encouraged to take part with their national teams where the opportunity arises. Of course, Mathew Leckie turned down the opportunity for the World Cup Qualifiers in September due to government quarantine regulations that would have affected A-League players' preparation for the new season.
Once less disruptive quarantine protocols have been established, our Melbourne City boys will again be ready to take on the world for their national teams - be that Macedonia or the Socceroos.
We’ll be waiting anxiously to see how Colakovski goes against the French and Serbian U21 sides; it will surely be a decisive test for City's young gun.