When Frank Arok was appointed coach of Marconi in the early 1990s he described it as the ?AC Milan of Australian soccer.? And in 2009 some things haven?t changed.
?Nobody in the A-League has what we have,? Sterrey said as he proudly sat watch over Marconi Stadium from inside Club Marconi. ?It still has the facilities and, in that sense, is the biggest club in Australia.
?Young Marconi juniors need to know how big this club is and that is part of my aim: to bring back tradition to the club.?
Sterrey, the former coach of Fiji?s national team, returns to Marconi at an interesting and exciting time. Expectations are high, but at Marconi that?s always been the case.
?As the Head Coach you need to have the strength to make the right decisions,? he said. ?For instance, I let Luke Casserly go. He?s a fantastic person and great clubman, but we needed to move in a different direction.
?Marconi as a breeding ground for young players will continue. We invest a lot in our juniors and the squad had changed dramatically from last year.
?It?s important that we put the right things into place. Coaches face the music and the bullet and the players also need to take responsibility for performances along with the coaches.?
As a player Sterrey arrived at Marconi in 1985 after several seasons at Sydney United. He started his coaching career with the under-20s at Marconi and then led the squad to three Viareggio youth tournaments in Italy ? 1995, 1996 & 1997 ? before taking on the role as Assistant Coach to Zoran Matic in 1997 in the now defunct National Soccer League.
?It?s good to come back home. This is my home in Australian football because over the years Marconi have made a big investment in me,? he said.
?I am a very passionate coach and I am very excited about this year because everyone has a reason to be here and play for Marconi.?
There are many new and exciting additions to the squad too. Ali Abbas Al-Hilfi is a wide left midfielder who Sterrey rates very highly.
He is from Iraq and already boasts appearances for the Iraqi Olympic team and senior Iraq national side, including appearances for his country against the Socceroos in the Asian Cup and against the Olyroos in November 2007 in Gosford at Bluetongue Stadium.
Marconi also hopes to sign three visa players from the Ivory Coast which will complement the exciting Lenox Tweneboa who is a 19-year-old Ghanaian who has already played for Bonnyrigg White Eagles.
Alex Canak, the leading goalscorer from last season?s Super League, has been signed from Liverpool Bossy FC and Nahuel Arrarte will be captain given that he is one of the three more-experienced players alongside Vuko Tomasevic and 31-year-old Italian Andrea Merenda who played with several Serie C1 and Serie B clubs in Italy.
Eric Anabalon returns from Penrith Nepean United and five players ? Umut Tokdogan, Tim McGowan, Daniel Ott, Graz Trimboli and Stefan Heleta ? have all been promoted from Marconi?s champion under-20 squad from last year.
It is these exciting times that give Football Chairman Vince Foti reason to smile and be optimistic about season 2009.
?We wanted players with passion and players who have an interest in playing for this proud club,? Mr Foti stated.
?For our coach we wanted someone with a link to Marconi and someone who had a good football sense which means developing team spirit, knowing how-to-win and the ability to develop juniors. We have full confidence in Lee and we expect to be in the top three this year.
?At Marconi our obligation is to our supporters and members, but it?s also to football in general in this state because we want to provide an exciting football team that will create an interest for the spectators,? Mr Foti concluded.
Marconi Stallions Squad 2009: Cem Akili (GK), James Chronopoulos (GK), Nahuel Arrarte (Capt.), Wade Ostendorp, Lenox Tweneboa, Umut Tokdogan, Adel Eljamal, Vuko Tomasevic, Alex Canak, Eric Anabalon, Ali Abbas Al-Hilfi, Matt Gordon, Ben Vidaic, Daniel Ott, Tim McGowan, Graz Trimboli, Stefan Heleta, Chris Nunes and Andrea Merenda.
-By Joe Russo