Rufer on board

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

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.

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