By George Kouroumalis & John Kyrou
South Melbourne FC fans that are old enough to remember the old National Soccer League will recognise the names John Markovski and Andrew Zinni, both of whom were also formerly Socceroos players. Those fans that also regularly follow the progress of our 2014 Youth and NPL 20s side will have seen their sons Josh Markovski and Stefan Zinni representing the Club.
John Markovski was one of Australia’s most talented players throughout the 1980s and 1990s and played for several clubs during the NSL and then a division below in the old Victorian Premier League. There was always controversy when John played against South Melbourne (who he never played for himself) but this made those games all the more memorable to watch. Nowadays, he sits in the stands to watch his two sons Josh and Jonas trying to make their mark in Sasa Kolman’s South Melbourne NPL 20s side.
It has been a big year for 17 year old Josh, who has excelled in the NPL 20s and has been scoring goals regularly during the 2014 season. Speaking to smfc.com.au, Josh was under no illusion that he needs to continue the hard work in order to reach his intended goal. “South is a big club and I have loved every minute here. My objective is to keep working hard and learning the game and one day represent the Club at senior level. It’s great being part of a football club with such a great and proud history.”
Younger brother Jonas has also played a role in the NPL 20s side, however due to his age he has mostly featured in the Under 18s side under coach Panagiotis Panagiotidis. Jonas’ aims are similar to his older brother. “I just want to keep learning and developing my game and so far I have learnt so much at South Melbourne. If I can continue learning over the next few years I also hope that one day I can play senior football and it would be great to play alongside my brother.”
Stefan Zinni is following in the footsteps of his father, possessing similar traits that Andrew Zinni had when playing for Brunswick Juventus and Preston back in the NSL. Stefan’s ability to dribble past and trouble the defenders in front of him has resulted in him scoring plenty of goals alongside Josh Markovski, with the two players being the NPL 20s strike partnership equivalent of Milos Lujic and Jamie Reed. Stefan recently netted a hat-trick in the big win against the Dandenong Thunder at George Andrews Reserve on Saturday 16 August.
Having been involved with South Melbourne FC at youth level for the last decade, Zinni also has a very clear and simple aim. “I’d love to one day walk out onto Lakeside Stadium and play for the South seniors. I have played at the Club since Under 8s and would love to follow in my father’s footsteps and represent a big club in Victoria.” Zinni’s younger brother Julian is also part of our program, playing in the Under 15s side that is also coached by Sasa Kolman. Julian nominates his father as the key influence so far in his career. “I think dad has had a big impact on me as a player. I watch tapes of his games in the old NSL and watch his movements to see how he used to score all his goals. I try to take as much as I can from his playing style.”
South Melbourne FC wishes all four boys the very best and would love to see them all representing the senior side in the future.