Rufer on board
Western Suburbs has welcomed its third coach in three years, with the experienced Shane Rufer taking the helm of the Porirua football club.
The departure of Dutchman John Kila, after a mid-table finish in the Central League and early exit from the Chatham Cup in 2010, comes as Wests and Ole Football Academy look to move in ‘‘different directions’’, said Wests chairman Nigel Hillier.
He said there was no reason to paint this in a negative light, but concedes it was a ‘‘tricky set-up’’.
It’s the beginning of a new chapter, and Mr Hillier said they have a positive outlook for the future.
‘‘For years the director of coaching at Ole has been involved with our first team, and now the club is taking back that role in-house,’’ he said.
‘‘We will still have close contact with them, using their grounds for training, but they have rebranded into more of an elite programme.’’
Rufer, a professional in Europe for 12 years, who has held coaching positions with the Football Kingz and YoungHeart Manawatu, and who runs an academy in Palmerston North, will commute to Porirua for training and match days.
‘‘To get someone of Shane’s calibre on board as we go through this transition is just fantastic,’’ Mr Hillier said.
Rufer has a tough job on his hands, since many of the Ole youngsters may not turn out again for Wests. Recruits are being looked at from as far afield as England and Japan, but Rufer is keen to tap into local talent, to assemble a squad for the upcoming Hilton Petone preseason tournament.
It’s not a competition Wests usually turns out for but Rufer says it will give him a good idea of where he is at in terms of player personnel.
‘‘You can do a lot of talking but, for me, the answer is out on the field, that’s where it counts,’’ Rufer said.
‘‘I’ve been involved in this game all my life and I have a few ideas. Wests is going to be a good fit with me.’’
Coaching class: Shane Rufer says he is bringing an open mind to his role as first-team coach for Western Suburbs. He doesn’t have long to get bedded in, with pre-season training underway, a tournament in late February and the new Central League starting in April.