Socceroos great Milan Ivanovic dreams of a South Australian A-League derby between Adelaide City and Adelaide United.
But in the meantime he will settle for his beloved Zebras to cause an Australia Cup upset by beating the Reds at Gepps Cross on Wednesday night.
“The boys are very optimistic and excited, and to be honest, they’ve got some chance of winning this game,” said Ivanovic, who was a key member of Adelaide City’s all-conquering and star-studded National Soccer League teams of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The classy defender won two NSL championships and two NSL Cups with City, where his teammates included current Adelaide United coach Carl Veart.
“Carl played for Adelaide City and there’d be a lot of emotions for Carl, but he has to do what has he to do,” Ivanovic said.
Former Socceroos striker Veart admitted City – who topped the NPL South Australia ladder this year – was a “very important part of my football career”, but promised to show no sentiment on Wednesday night with a Cup quarter-final spot up for grabs.
“I’ve had great memories at Adelaide City. They’ve been a very successful club and I’ve always got a lot time for the club but … my whole loyalty is with Adelaide United,” Veart said.
“Our team is a professional team. They have to go out there, do a professional job and get the job done.”
Veart rejected suggestions of tension between the clubs, however a rivalry would build if City was to eventually become SA’s second club in an expanded A-League.
Ivanovic was adamant that City should eventually join United in the A-League, via a stint in the proposed national second division competition.
“I would love to see that happen – it would be fantastic,” Ivanovic said.
“A `B-League’ or a second division would be a good stepping stone for City to one day play in the A-League.
“The best thing that can happen for Australian soccer is to have a national second division.
“It’d be good for the players and the coaches as well. It would help develop better coaches.”
Veart said Wednesday night’s match would showcase what SA football had to offer.
“Everyone underestimates the football we have in South Australia,” Veart said.
“Going back to my time, we had a lot of good South Australian players playing at Adelaide City, and I’ve tried to instil that as well in my time here at (Adelaide United).
“We’re trying to give opportunities to young South Australian players and it’s important that we provide that platform.”