South Melbourne FC

The Blue and White Forever

South focussed for a big 2009 – Season Preview

South focussed for a big 2009 – Season Preview

Friday, 27 February 2009 1:24 PM

smfc-logoBy George Kouroumalis

After a turbulent 2008 season on the park, South Melbourne FC will be looking to celebrate its 50th year in a manner that is more synonymous with the most famous and successful football club in Australia, after missing the VPL finals in the last two seasons.

Leading the way for South will be experienced coach Michael Michalakopoulos, who was retained after taking over the club mid-way through 2008 following the resignation of John Anastasiadis. Michalakopoulos will lead a new-look football department, along with new football director Ange Dallas and assistant coach Phil Pelandrinos.

In goals, South has retained the former A-League goalkeeper Tommi Tommich for another season. Tomich is regarded as one of the best shot stoppers in the league and will provide South with an adequate replacement for the retired Dean Anastasiadis. Serving under Tommich will be youngsters Stefan Sardelic (retained from 2008) and Andrew Sfetkopoulos, who has joined from State League 2 club Altona East.

Sitting in front of the keepers will be a very well credentialed and experienced defensive unit that will be lead by 2009 captain Rama Tavsancioglu, who is just six games shy of reaching 100 senior games for South. ‘Rama’ will lead a defence that includes vice captain Steven O’Dor and the newly acquired Stiven Mrkela. 27 year old Mrkela joined from reigning VPL champions Altona Magic in the off-season and will bring a wealth of experience to the defence. A former Altona captain, Mrkela will add leadership and hardness to a previously brittle defence.

Throughout the middle of the park South will be once again looking at Futsalroo Fernando De Moraes to provide the spark. The midfielder is just 10 games away from joining an illustrious group that have represented the club in 100 matches or more, but more importantly, South fans will be hoping that he can re-produce the stunning form that he showed in the 2006 championship winning season. Joining Fernando will be former Fawkner player Joseph Youssef, who will be looking to cement a starting eleven birth with his tough tackles and pushing forward at every opportunity.

Up front South will go into the season with three very competent attacking players at VPL level. One of these will be former NSL and A-League player and South legend Vaughan Coveny. The man known as ‘Horse’ has arrived back at lakeside to provide the club with a leader both on and off the park, something that he has done proudly in his 276 games for the club to date. Three goals in 2009 will bring up a century of South Melbourne goals for the former Kiwi international, in a 12 season career with South that began in the 1995/96 NSL season.

Pairing up with the veteran will be either Gianni De Nittis, or the speedy Goran Zoric, all who have been in blistering form throughout the pre-season and Hellenic Cup competition.

Though the final make-up of the starting eleven is not straight forward, what can be established is that the squad is a very deep and experienced group of players, all of whom have the hunger to try and avenge the disappointment of the last two seasons by playing a prominent role in 2009.

South’s first game will be against newly promoted Dandenong Thunder on Sunday March 1st at Bob Jane Stadium. Kick-off is at 6pm and all fans are urged to get along.

Sunday will also be the chance for supporters to purchase and pick up their 2009 memberships from the club. A new range of heritage merchandise will also be available for order on the day, including the much sought after Adidas apparel.

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