It’s all systems go as Eastern Suburbs Football Association General Manager Bill Kostandas and his staff prepare to press the GO button when football hits fever pitch this weekend.
The 56-year-old was elated with the news that Community Football was back following its four-month layoff due to COVID-19.
“Very excited is understatement following the news that our beautiful game is back.
“Many of our members will be able to play football in 2020 when at one stage it looked highly unlikely.
“They will be able to do something that they love and it will also give them a great release, something I am sure they’ve missed for a fair few months now.
“Getting the game back has been a great challenge.
“The ESFA Board have worked hard on communicating with Clubs on a regular basis and keeping them up to date with everything.
“Our President Nigel Singh has been great and the support from his Board has been fantastic – and because of this, the result is football kicking off for ESFA members this Friday July 4.
“The Board, through Nigel, have also been in constant contact with the Local Councils and they have appreciated the information provided by ESFA and Football NSW.”
Kostandas paid a massive tribute to all the hard working volunteers at club land who stuck together in getting all the ‘Return to Football’ guidelines down pat ensuring their respective teams were ready to rock ‘n’ roll this weekend.
“ESFA club representatives have been very understanding during these tough times.
“They are all passionate volunteers and have their Clubs and the sport at heart.
“Our members have been great. They understand the COVID-19 pandemic is a one off and it has created a reset in priorities for many.
“One positive to come out of COVID-19 is that the Clubs and ESFA’s relationship has become stronger. Everyone appreciates the hard work and dedication one another has put in.”
The issue of facilities has also been at the forefront of many of the association needs in getting the sport the best possible amenities. Kostandas stated to Football NSW that ground shortage in the Eastern Suburbs area was an issue but was appreciative of local councils efforts in aiding the sport with field availability.
“In the Eastern Suburbs we do have a ground shortage, more so due to a land shortage.
“Councils do have an understanding that ESFA is the largest community organisation in the Eastern Suburbs.
“They understand and have worked with us in terms of field availability as well as upgrades.
“To the State Government, Football is the largest sport in terms of community participation and the sport requires facilities in order to cater for its numbers. With the female numbers increasing the issue is change room facilities. In the Eastern Suburbs many of our grounds do not have canteen or changeroom facilities.
“The odd synthetic pitch that ESFA Clubs have access to as well as reasonable hire rates (in dollars) would be much appreciated.”
With Football kicking off at ESFA this Friday evening, Kostandas stated that the Juniors will run right up till the weekend of the 26th/27th of September for their finals while the Seniors will finish a little later on the weekend of October 10th/11th.
Asked what his final message was to the ESFA Football Public, Kostandas stated.
“We want our entire football family to have fun, its been a while.
“Go out and enjoy yourselves in what is the greatest game of all.
“But please, don’t forget, be conscious and adhere to the Public Health Order and Return To Football Guidelines.”