Walter Pless on Association Football
- Written by Walter Pless
- Published: 10 March 2017
Photo: Hobart Zebras' new signings (L-R) Nick Groenewold (Canada), Imran Lewis (nephew of renowned cricketer Sir Viv Richards from the Caribbean) and Brazilian goalkeeoper Marcello Mercuri [PlessPix]
The 2017 NPL season kicks off tonight when Olympia Warriors host South Hobart at 8pm at Warrior Park.
South Hobart won the 2014 NPL title and Olympia the 2015 title and both sides will be keen to establish their credentials for the current season.
Olympia will have several new faces on view, including Sam Conway from New South Wales and Kingborough, Paul Stevens from Hobart Zebras, Alfred Hess from South Hobart, Shane Cartwright from Kingborough and imports Jacob Cole and Jakub Sklenar.
Former South Hobart youngster Lucas Hill has also signed for Olympia after returning from playing in Switzerland for a couple of seasons.
South Hobart have signed Adam Gorrie from champions Devonport City and goalkeeper Graham Wright from Hobart Zebras.
They also have Australian junior international, 16-year-old Eduardo Castaneda.
This will be a fascinating encounter and Olympia, coached by former Kingborough supremo Ian Shaw, should start as slight favourites against a youthful South Hobart outfit that will be missing Alex Leszczynski.
Reigning champions Devonport City take on Hobart Zebras at 2pm at Valley Road tomorrow in what will be a litmus test for both sides’ title chances this season.
Devonport have a new coach in Chris Gallo and new signings in Michael Holden from Melbourne Victory Youth, and Canadians Matt Zaikos and Raphael Reynolds.
They have lost goalkeeper Niko Giantsopoulos, who was pivotal in them winning last year’s NPL title, Joe Zupo and Joel Stone (Brisbane).
Zebras will be coached by Peter Savill, who took Devonport to last year’s title, and they have acquired imports Imran Lewis, Nick Groenewold and Marcello Mercuri, as well as Avondale’s Mathew Sanders, who will fly in from Victoria for each game.
Christopher Downes has also been signed from Kingborough.
The new-look Kingborough Lions United travel to Launceston to take on Launceston City at the renamed Buckby Land Rover Park at 2pm tomorrow.
Kingborough have included seven new signings from interstate and overseas so they must win this game to confirm the wisdom of these acquisitions and to establish the credentials of new 21-year-old coach Gabriel Markaj.
These new signings in the squad are Benjamin Kovadio, Chris Akakpo, Izaak Debaba Mtwele, Mohammadamin Shagharijii, Mulonda Ntale, Paolo Markaj and Sheku Kamara.
Launceston City’s new signings are Dylan O’Connor, from Ireland, and Dylan Williams, from America.
The club has lost Isaac Degetto, Dominic Rossi and Toby Omenihu.
New coach Ben Brookfield will be hoping for a perfect start in order to silence the critics who complained about the club’s decision not to reappoint Lino Sciulli, who is now coaching Northern Rangers.
Northern Rangers are in action on Monday against Clarence United at 2pm at KGV Park.
Clarence have signed their former defender Matt Lewis from South Hobart, as well as Paul Palmer from Hobart Zebras and Odaine Demar from Canada.
These players will strengthen Clarence, who have not lost any players.
Rangers have acquired Jesse Rodriguez from Queensland and Siung Young Gin from Olympia.