Sibatuara on Fire as Sam claims Il Centro Man of the Match award
Sam Sibatuara was named Il Centro Man of the Match after Brisbane City’s 6-0 victory over Sunshine Coast on Saturday night after scoring his third and fourth goals of the season in a dominant attacking display.
However City’s two time Club Golden Boot winner was far more pleased with the three points than individual recognition of his performance.
“It is good to get man of the match, but most importantly it was good to get the win.” Sam told the website. “Three points are very important for us. It’s good to score two goals, one, three, it doesn’t really matter as long as the team wins I’m happy with that.”
The former Roar Youth striker acknowledged that Sunshine Coast are on a difficult run at the moment, but insists that the Fire still provided enough of a test for his team on the night and was pleased to win as convincingly as the final score suggests.
“I think coming into the game we knew they weren’t really on a good run, but also we needed to take into account that they were going to come out firing and give everything that they had, and on the night they did.” Sam explained.
“They were pressuring us and they gave it their all, so respect to them but we can only control what we can do, so obviously we just stuck to our normal game plan and it doesn’t really matter how many goals we got, we gave a good performance and we can take that into the following weeks.”
Sibatuara’s brace on the night was matched by strike partner Seiji Shizuno, and Sam admits to a healthy rivalry between the two as they vie for top spot in City’s scoring charts.
“All of us boys in the attacking third have a really good connection, a good relationship off the field and we want to take that onto the field.” Sam explained.
“I don’t see it as a battle really, but if he scores two, I’m going to come out and score three.” He added with a laugh. “It might be a good thing, because if he scores two, I score three that’s five and that’s enough to win most games!”
“Being serious though, as long as we win the game it doesn’t matter who scores.”
“I’m just as happy to set up and do what’s best for the team. That’s the most important thing.”
Sibatuara was a notable absentee during the pre-season and opening two games of the NPL Queensland season as he trialled for PSMS Medan who were promoted to the Indonesian Lega 1 at the end of last season.
Sam revealed that the club wanted to sign him after a successful trial that involved playing against Persib Bandung, featuring former Chelsea and two time EPL and UEFA Champions League winner Michaël Essien, but after a period of reflection, Sam turned down the offer and returned to City.
“Going there was a good experience, very tough.” Sam explained. “On the field it’s a very different type of game. The Asian way of playing is very direct, very physical.”
“Over there it’s full on, they take everything 100% and it’s very tough. You’re playing in front of 40,000, 50,000 people, you’re walking through shopping malls and getting crowded around all the time. It was almost a little bit like a superstar feeling.”
“They wanted to sign me but there were citizenship issues. They wanted to sign me as a local player instead of a foreign player, so that was pretty difficult, a very tough decision for me and my family.” Sam said.
The physicality is perhaps understandable coming from a side who rather alarmingly are nicknamed “The Killer” and are renowned for their rap-rap style of play that consists mostly of rough, fast, all-action football.
But apart from the lessons he learned on the field, Sam admitted that he took a lot more back from Indonesia than just footballing expereince.
“It was a good experience but one thing I can take back here to Australia is that we should be grateful for what we have, facilities and everything.” Sam reflected.
“Even the way of living is not the way we would live here. Food is very hard to come by, and resources so I’ve learned to appreciate what we have here and come back hungrier for City and hopefully do well this season.”
Since his return Sam has proven that hunger for goals, sating his appetite by finding the back of the net four times in his five games so far.
Sam was positive that despite City’s tough start to the year, the team have really begun to gel and after a run of four games without defeat can look ahead to a tough trip to Perry Park in a fortnight’s time full of confidence.
“As a team we had a pretty poor start to the season to be honest, but over the last few weeks that connection in training has really been put onto the field.”
“We’re gonna do the same things as normal we’re not going to change anything, we’re gonna have a nice break – hopefully not have too many easter eggs – and come back the next week ready to go.”
“We don’t have to do anything different just keep playing the same way that we’ve been playing and be disciplined in our approach to the game and look after ourselves and hopefully we’ll do a number on them.”