South Melbourne FC

The Blue and White Forever

SMFC 2008 Season Preview

SMFC 2008 Season Preview

Friday, 15 February 2008 2:47 PM

By George Kouroumalis and John Kyrou

After the disappointment of missing the finals in 2007, the South Melbourne Football Club are adamant that season 2008 will be a competitive season, which will hopefully see the club back in finals action and pushing for another VPL championship, to satisfy its large supporter base.

South has retained coach John Anastasiadis for the upcoming season, with the former PAOK and South star signing a 1 year contract extension. This coming season will be Anastasiadis’ fourth consecutive season in charge at Bob Jane Stadium. With all things going well, the round 16 fixture at Western Suburbs will be Anastasiadis’ 100th game in charge for the mighty blue and whites, a feat that only Manny Poulakakis, John Margaritis and Ange Postecoglou have managed to achieve in the past.

In what was a problem area for the club in 2007, the goalkeeping position will be filled in 2008 by the experienced Dean Anastasiads, after Mitchell Langerak’s loan deal from the Melbourne Victory expired. A former NSL championship winner and dual VPL keeper of the year in 2005 and 2006, Anastasiadis has recovered from knee surgery and has once again put his hand up to be the number one keeper at lakeside. ‘Deano’ as he is affectionately known, will be entering his 9th season with South Melbourne, having begun at the club back in the 1992/93 NSL season.

Anastasiadis will have youngsters Mladen Tosic and Nick Jelic as his back-up, with the inexperienced young goalkeepers impressing during the numerous friendlies played across the summer break.

Defensively, South has made a concerted effort during the off-season to bolster a defensive unit that struggled in 2007. Rejoining the club are former players Steven O’Dor and Sam Poutakidis, who will undoubtedly provide experience to a defence that leaked 33 goals last season. Also joining will be Shane Nunes from Western Australia, who is regarded as the best central defender in the Western Australian Premier League. Combining with Ramazan Tavcancioglou and Adam Van Dommelle, these three signings will be a part of what is considered to be a super defensive unit.

In midfield the club will once again rely on Fernando De Moraes and Gianni De Nittis, whilst also having the likes of Bill Natsioulas and Yusuf Yusuf being able to slot into the wing positions comfortably. With the loss of Tansel Baser to Coburg and Trent Waterson to Oakleigh, the midfield quartet will be expected to – and must – step up to ensure South sees finals action. New signings Hamlet Armenian and Goran Zoric will also be expected to use their speed, endurance and work ethic down the left and right hand flanks. South has done extremely well to acquire these two attacking players, as they both played integral parts in the Victorian State Squad of 2007 and for their old clubs Whittlesea Zebras and Springvale White Eagles respectively.

Up front, South will rely on the services of Nathan Caldwell and Ricky Diaco. Both players have a proven goalscoring record in the Foxtel Cup and both have the ablity to torment defences on their day. If the midfielders can combine well with the forwards then South fans can look forward to some exciting attacking football.

John Anastasiadis was quite optimistic about the upcoming season, with the South great claiming that “we have all the players in place now and we really need to be switched on from round 1 and get points on the board early. I feel as though we have a great blend of experience and youth and can match it with any team in the competition, so fingers crossed we can play to our potential and give the league a shake this year.”

South opens the season away to arch rivals Heidelberg in Round 1, with their first home game being against Coburg at Bob Jane Stadium in round 2.

Sam Poutakidis – Oakleigh Cannons
Shane Nunes – Cockburn City (WA)
Nick Jelic – NSW
Steve O’Dor – Wellington Phoenix
Goran Zoric – Springvale White Eagles
Hamlet Armenian – Whittlesea Zebras

Arthur Tsonis
Sam DeVito
Trent Waterson
Tansel Baser
Frank Drakopoulos
Mitchell Langerak

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