Tim Michell, Preston Leader
July 24, 2017 9:08am
ONE of the greatest players in Preston Lions’ history will return to the club for a one-off appearance against Sydenham Park on Sunday.
Former Socceroo Sasa Ognenovski, who featured 22 times for the national side, will turn out for Preston for the first time since 2004 this weekend.
Lions boss Lou Acevski said Ognenovski’s return to B.T Connor Reserve would be a special occasion for the club.
“Anybody that knows Sasa, he is an absolute brute of a player,” Acevski said.
“He’s naturally fit. We need a bit of a leadership push and I want to use him as an example, more so what he does verbally than anything.
“I know he will come in, dictate play.
“It’s just great being our 70th year, we are recognising people that have contributed and been involved with the club over the last 70 years.
“He’s, for me, been our most successful footballer.”
Sasa Ognenovski was crowned Asian player of the year in 2010. Picture: Kamarul Akhir.
The 38-year-old central defender, who played 77 A-League matches with Queensland Roar, Adelaide United and Sydney FC, started his senior career at Preston in 1999.
He was named the Asian footballer of the year in 2010 after leading Korean side Seongnam Ilhwa to the prestigious Asian Champions League title and was awarded the tournament’s most valuable player.
“It has always been our aim to bring the right people back to the club and show the general footballing industry that Preston is a power,” Acevski said.
“Maybe it hasn’t been over the last few years, but the next few years we will definitely be back up there.”
Sasa Ognenovski’s first A-League opportunity was with Queensland Roar. Picture: Mark Evans.
Preston will be striving for its third consecutive win this weekend in State League 1 North-West after a hat-trick from striker Chris Davies fired the Lions to a 3-0 victory over Essendon Royals.
The in-form attacker buried a penalty two minutes into the Round 16 contest after being brought down in the box, giving Preston a 1-0 halftime lead.
Davies made the Royals pay for an errant back pass in the second half, producing a lethal finish for his second goal which gave visiting keeper Douglas Lindberg no chance.
Aryn Williams earned another penalty in the last minute of the contest, powering into the area before being dragged down.
It allowed Davies to step up and complete his hat-trick with his fifth goal in the past two matches.