By Con Dimitrakakis
Ahead of the new Victorian Premier League season starting in April, Club stalwart Fernando De Moraes will be changing shirt number from 15 to 8, in honour of his father who used to wear the number during his playing career.
With the recent retirement of Captain Steve O’Dor, Fernando is the only player remaining from South’s first VPL squad from back in 2005. Fernando arrived from PSB Palestra São Bernado in Brazil to bolster our squad, having seen the Club play in his homeland at the 2000 FIFA Club World Championship.
Since then, Fernando has excelled in the blue shirt, having supplied the cross for Gianni De Nittis to nod in the goal that won the 2006 VPL Championship over Altona Magic, capturing the VPL Gold Medal for Player of the Year award in his stellar 2010 season (which included scoring a goal in the RHB Singapore Cup Quarter Final against eventual winners Bangkok Glass) and picking up a string of Club Golden Boot awards (2006, 2008, 2010) along the way. In all competitions, Fernando has pulled on the South jersey on 173 occasions and found the back of the net 59 times. In League competition only, he has played 168 games and scored 52 goals.
Dimi Hatzimouratis, who wore the number 8 shirt in nine matches last season before succumbing to a serious foot injury that ruled him out for the rest of the season, will complete the swap and wear Fernando’s old number 15 shirt in 2013.
As always, keep an eye on smfc.com.au for more squad announcements in the lead-up to the start of the new VPL season.