THE COVID-19 sports lockdown in late March came at a cruel time for Australia’s only Jewish A-League player Jordi Swibel.
Having played a key part in Sydney FC’s national Y-League (U23s) championship win in January, the talented 21-year-old former Hakoah FC striker earned valuable minutes coming off the bench for the Sky Blues in several 2019-20 A-League games before the competition came to a halt. But Swibel, who has been a full-time squad member with the defending A-League champions for the last 12 months, has kept highly disciplined with his personal fitness routine and is now reaping the rewards.
He’s trained the house down since Sydney FC full squad sessions resumed three weeks ago in preparation for the resumption of the season.
“It feels fantastic to be back together after such a long time training apart,” Swibel told The AJN.
“Everyone is fit and healthy and raring to go.”
The Sky Blues are in first place with 15 wins, three draws and just two losses.
Their first match back, a round 21 home fixture on July 17, promises to be an enthralling clash against the third-placed Wellington Phoenix.
At the time of going to press, the Victorian A-League teams –Melbourne City (second place), Melbourne Victory (10th) and Western United (6th) – were set to temporarily relocate to Sydney before the state border closed.
While Sydney FC only requires two more wins to secure the premiership ahead of the finals series, the club’s head coach Steve Corica will need to carefully manage his players’ workloads.
Swibel explained, “Because we have six games to play in just one month – more games than any other club – squad depth is going to play a major role in such a condensed schedule.
“The new five-subs per game rule [an increase of one substitute] will enable the coach to put on more players in games to manage fatigue.
“I’m just focused on training hard and being in a position to contribute to the team in matches if the opportunity comes my way.”