- Written by Walter Pless
- Published: 27 February 2014
Photo: Seung Yong Jin (left) and Jai Young Choi are new signings for the Lions [Photo courtesy of Kingborough Lions United [PlessPix]
Tilford Zebras and Olympia Warriors are the hot favourites to reach the Summer Cup final from Division A of the competition.
Zebras meet Kingborough Lions United at 4pm at KGV Park on Saturday in one semi-final, while the Warriors take on Beachside at 2pm in the other.
Photo: Romeo Frediani...Zebras won't take Kingborough lightly [PlessPix]
Zebras should be at full strength and their 4-2 win over league champions South Hobart last weekend shows that they are also hitting form.
Their defence is vulnerable at times, but their midfield and attack should turn the tables in their favour.
Kingborough will be missing Nick Cuthbertson, Jack Turner, Tom Bilson and Dan Kingsbury due to injury, travel, work and school commitments, respectively.
But, the Lions have signed South Korean Seung Yong Jin from Olympia Warriors and he will be included in the squad.
“This will be another tough game with a different mix of squad players coming up against an in-form Zebras outfit,” said Lions coach Stephen Pitchford, who coached Zebras in this competition last season.
“We will need to maintain concentration throughout the full 90 minutes, restricting the combination play opportunities so well used by Zebras in recent games.
“Creation of scoring opportunities has been an aspect that has improved during the round-robin phase.
“We will be looking to lift our conversion rate in this game, where Francis Kenyi and Martin Farquhar will benefit from Jin's presence.”
Photo: Stephen Pitchford may start Jin on the bench [PlessPix]
Jin scored 18 goals in his 28 appearances for Olympia Warriors in 2013.
The Korean joined Olympia ahead of the inaugural 2013 Victory League season, scoring 10 goals in his debut season and playing a pivotal role in Olympia’s attack and aiding them to reach the season ending Victory Cup final series.
Prior to this, Jin played for Mokpo City FC in the Korean National League, the second tier of Korean football.
Mokpo City FC is a South Korean association football club based in Mokpo, South Jeolla.
The 19-year-old will fill one of the Lions’ two visa spots for the 2014 Victory League season.
“Having a striker of Jin’s quality join the club was an exciting prospect for our members, players, sponsors and the coaching staff alike,” said Pitchford.
“He’s a proven goal-scorer and a player that will cause plenty of headaches for opposition defenders and coaches.”
Kingborough received confirmation from Football Federation Tasmania on Wednesday that Jin is eligible for selection in the Lions’ semi-final match.
Also joining Jin at the Lions’ Den will be another Korean player, Jae Young Choi.
Last season, the Lions were unsuccessful in obtaining an International Transfer Certificate for Choi as he was under 18 years of age.
The Lions have now received this International Transfer Certificate, paving the way for Choi to play for the Lions in 2014.
Choi joins the Club from Bucheon FC 1995, which is a South Korean professional football club located in the city of Bucheon and is a member of the K-League.
Choi played for their youth team.
“The 18-year-old is an exciting prospect and will be challenging for a spot in the Lions’ 2014 Victory League squad,” said Pitchford.
Beachside will miss the injured Josh Thorpe and the suspended ben Whitehall for their semi-final against the Warriors.
Photo: Beachside skipper James Symmons said his side are the underdogs [PlessPix]
“This gives us a chance to play some of the up-and-coming players,” said Beachside coach, Farrell Shaw.
“It will be a big challenge for us, but one all at the club are looking forward to.
“And, on a personal note, it is always nice to coach against an old club, particularly one that I have such fond memories of.
“All we can do is our best, and hope for a little bit of luck.”
Olympia will be without striker Emmanuel Tsakiris, who is unavailable.
Photo: Glenn McNeill is wary of Beachside [PlessPix]
“Beachside, over the years, have proved to be worthy competitors and we anticipate a very physical match,” said Olympia coach, Glen McNeill.
“We are nearly at full strength, but Emmanuel Tsakiris is unavailable.
“However, we look forward to the resumption of the left-side partnership in Will Roberts and Jono Griffiths.
“Ben Phillips will likely play a greater role than last week, as will Alex Bellini and Warren Wadawu.”
Saturday’s program commences at 10am when Tilford Zebras meet Glenorchy Knights in a Division B semi-final, while at noon, Clarence United take on South Hobart in the other.
On Friday at KGV Park, there are two Premier Women’s Summer Cup semi-finals.
Olympia Warriors play Tilford Zebras at 6pm, and Taroona meet the NTC at 8pm.