Marconi Stallions boosted by overseas recruits


So, too, has new coach Lee Sterrey, the man responsible for the arrival of its new stars and for the club’s form reversal.

The experienced coach looked across the globe when choosing his squad for this year, attracting players from across three continents into Bossley Park.
Italy’s Andrea Merenda, Iraqi international Ali Abbas Al-Hilfi and the Ivory Coast duo of Damara Viarra and Ousmane Toure have all found their place in the Stallions’ line-up.
Al-Hilfi first came to Australia with Iraq’s Olympic squad 18 months ago, remaining in the country as a refugee before receiving a residency allowing him to wear the sky blue this season.

”He’s a running mid-field player with a lot of pace, skill and time on the ball,” Sterrey said.
”He is a professional who thinks about his football 24/7.”

Al-Hilfi isn’t the only international in the Marconi ranks, with 20-year-old Viarra recently joining fellow countryman Toure, 18, who arrived at the club on the eve of season kick-off.

”Ousmane has settled in a lot more since the arrival of Diarra a couple of weeks ago. Diarra and Nahuel Arrarte will control most games in the middle of the park,” Sterrey said.
Among the mix of youth that Sterrey has at his disposal is the experienced Merenda, a former Italian Serie C player.

”His experience at the back is certainly helping us,” Sterrey said.
”Andrea’s class at the back calms the team down because we want to play from the back to the front.”
Sterrey has a long list of talents as a football coach, but unfortunately talking Arabic, French and Italian don’t rank highly.
The Marconi mentor hasn’t been fazed by the language barrier and believes the communication factor hasn’t been an issue.
”Diarra isn’t too bad with his English but Toure is the hardest one because he only speaks French,” Sterrey said.
”But if you know football and you know your position it’s only a matter of blending in with the other boys and our formation.”

By Michael Chammas