South Melbourne FC is pleased to announce that its former goalkeeper Zaim Zeneli has returned to the Club ahead of the 2016 NPL season. He will be a direct replacement for young goalkeeper Fraser MacLaren, who has moved to Dandenong Thunder seeking greater game time.

Zeneli made his SMFC debut in the 2-1 win against the Oakleigh Cannons at Jack Edwards Reserve in March 2011 and assumed the number one goalkeeping spot for most of that season. In August that year, he made a memorable penalty save deep into injury time as ten-man South Melbourne defeated Heidelberg United 1-0 in the Elimination Final at SS Anderson Reserve. Overall he made 19 League appearances (21 across all competitions) in 2011 before leaving the club.

Zeneli spent the 2012-2015 seasons at the Dandenong Thunder and enjoyed immediate success there under current SMFC coach Chris Taylor. Although he was second-choice goalkeeper in the League fixtures in 2012, Zeneli played in Thunder’s Dockerty Cup fixtures as they reached the Cup Final. He again made another big penalty save as the Thunder beat Port Melbourne 5-4 on penalties.

From 2013, Zeneli established himself as the number one goalkeeper at the Thunder. In 2016, he will be compete with Nikola Roganovic for the number one goalkeeping spot at SMFC, however the 26 year old is looking forward to the healthy competition. “Nikola had a great 2015 season so it’s now up to me to try and claim the number one spot next season.”

He is also looking forward to linking up with Taylor and some former teammates at Lakeside Stadium. “Tim Mala, Iqi Jawadi, Matty Theodore and Nick Epifano were some of my former teammates at Dandenong, so I think it won’t take me long to settle back into the environment at South Melbourne.”

“I’m happy to be back and I hope to play my part in bringing more success to Lakeside Stadium in 2016.”

SMFC Football Director Nicholas Maikousis was happy to see Zeneli back at Lakeside. “Zaim is a fantastic addition to the squad. Just like Marcus Schroen, he is an individual who has performed well in the NPL throughout 2015 and is also someone who is quite familiar with the club already given his previous stint. We look forward to seeing him in our colours once again”

We welcome Zaim Zeneli back to the Club and wish him well in 2016.