Central Coast Mariners’ charge to the A-League Men finals has coincided with the rise of young forward Garang Kuol.
With the Mariners chasing a top-six finish, it has been the club’s 17-year-old forward that has proved decisive.
Kuol has now scored in three straight A-League Men games after another clinical finish against Brisbane Roar on Tuesday night.
Remarkably, all of Kuol’s goals have come as a substitute with the teenager scoring just four minutes after his introduction against the Roar.
It’s Garang Kuol’s world and we’re just living in it 🌏 pic.twitter.com/QWj3dXM1PS
— Central Coast Mariners (@CCMariners) May 3, 2022
Against Western United on April 30, Kuol also only took seven minutes to find the back of the net as he guided the Mariners to a surprise 1-0 win over a premiership contender.
As things stand, the 17-year-old has made seven league appearances to date, netting four goals at a rate of one every 28 minutes.
Kuol scored his first A-League Men goal on his competition debut against Wellington Phoenix on April 5 – firing just five minutes after coming onto the pitch.
To say it’s been a promising start for the youngster is an understatement and his emergence has coincided with the Mariners claiming four straight wins to wrap up a place in the finals.
Kuol is a surname many Mariners fans were already familiar with after Alou Kuol starred for the club last season.
The older brother of Garang scored seven goals for the Central Coast to seal an off-season move to German club VfB Stuttgart.
His younger sibling has wasted no time stepping out of his brother’s shadow at the Mariners this season with coach Nick Montgomery not surprised by his swift impact on the pitch.
“We’ve got the smallest budget, smallest squad in the league but what we are blessed with is good young players that I’ve coached for a couple of years that know what I expect,” Montgomery said on Tuesday night.
“They’re honest, they’re hard-working and there’s plenty of them that played out there that have been playing all season but Garang, he’s a special talent.
“When he comes off the bench he just needs one chance. That shows what a talent he is.”
Kuol played junior football for Goulburn Valley Suns in Victoria before following his older brother to the Mariners.
After impressing in their academy side, Kuol got his first taste of first-team football in December 2021 in an Australia Cup clash against APIA Leichhardt.
Unsurprisingly, the teenager scored on debut in a 6-0 thrashing and hasn’t missed a beat since being given his chance in the A-League Men.
17-year-old Garang Kuol scores his first @CCMariners goal! 👏
— Australia Cup (@AustraliaCup) December 21, 2021
Kuol, who is still juggling school commitments, is yet to start a game for the Mariners but with three goals in three games it seems like only a matter of time until he’s given a chance to truly shine.
“With the goals, it shows I can make an impact,” Kuol told 10 News last week.
Central Coast finish the regular season against Newcastle Jets on Saturday night before turning their attention to finals football where Kuol looms as a genuine game-changer.