New Mariners signing Jacques Faty says he’s ready to continue the legacy left by Spanish legend Luis Garcia as the Gosford outfit seek to bounce back from last season’s wooden spoon finish in the Hyundai A-League.
A youthful Central Coast squad managed just three wins last season, shipping a league high 70 goals with a goal difference of minus 37.
Garcia was a January 2016 marquee signing and his experience and class boosted the club for the short time he was on the Coast.
With Garcia now back in Europe, experience was identified as a priority for the upcoming Season 12 campaign.
Coach Tony Walmsley was quick to sign Faty and cousin Mickael Tavares when the pair became available in April from rivals Sydney FC.
And having completed their first week of training with their new teammates, Faty acknowledged it was now up to the pair to assume leadership roles within the group.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Luis Garcia, he’s a big, big player,” Faty told reporters on Friday.
“I’m not like him but of course I’ve played in some good leagues in France and Turkey so I have experience.
“My job here is to lead the young players. Try to explain how to improve their game and of course do better than last season.”
“I think the team was young with not a lot of experience, that’s why I came here with Mikey [Tavares].
“This team has some quality, the young players are very good and can improve a lot.”
Having played the majority of his career in France and Turkey, Faty said he was still coming to terms with Australia’s long off-season despite preparing for his third A-League campaign.
As such the 32-year-old was unsure if he would play a part in the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32 in which the Mariners have been drawn to play PS4 NPL Victoria side Green Gully.
“It’s very hard. In Australia you have two, three months pre-season not like in Europe so I have to adapt myself,” he said.
“I want to take my time, improve and be ready for the first [A-League] game.”
Faty will have earmarked his side’s round 2 clash with the Mariners set to travel to Allianz Stadium to face his former club Sydney FC.
“Of course Sydney FC is my old team but I don’t want to talk too much about them on camera,” said Faty.
“I will do my talking on the pitch.”