Coach val­ued for ded­i­ca­tion

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

Gra­ham Phillips is a bit em­bar­rassed by all the at­ten­tion.

The long-time football coach of Tawa Col­lege’s Sec­ond XI, Phillips was hon­oured at the sub­urb’s civic awards for his ser­vice to sport.

There is a strong link be­tween the col­lege and Tawa AFC, where he serves on the se­nior com­mit­tee.

Phillips be­gan coach­ing more than 15 years ago af­ter he quit play­ing due to in­jury. He rep­re­sented Wainuiomata in 90 games.

‘‘There was an ad­ver­tise­ment that said ‘vol­un­teer for your lo­cal club’, so I rang the Tawa [AFC] cap­tain and asked how I could help. I had got a lot from football and just wanted to give some­thing back. I started help­ing with Tawa’s ju­niors un­til 2004 and then vol­un­teered to take the col­lege’s sec­onds. It keeps me in­volved with the game.’’

He doesn’t have of­fi­cial coach­ing cer­tifi­cates but his knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence count for plenty.

‘‘I played for so many years un­der dif­fer­ent coaches and you pick up a lot from guys like [Tawa AFC first team coach] Maarten Romijn, es­pe­cially train­ing drills. You just add your own flavour.’’

Tawa Col­lege sec­onds are hav­ing an ex­cel­lent sea­son. De­spite a re­cent loss, he says they have what it takes to win their league and push for play in a higher division next sea­son.

His style is to be

‘‘fairly quiet’’ dur­ing matches, pre­fer­ring to say his bit to his play­ers be­fore, at half­time and af­ter games.

As well as coach­ing the side, he helps over­see all 11 of the col­lege’s football teams, col­lat­ing re­sults, or­gan­is­ing gear, help­ing with tri­als and reg­is­tra­tions, or­gan­is­ing pre- sea­son games and deal­ing with per­son­nel is­sues.

Phillips said work­ing with the First XI coach is vi­tal.

He said he was stunned and hon­oured to re­ceive the civic award. Coaches and ad­min­is­tra­tors like Romijn and Mike Wood have been nom­i­nated in the past but not recog­nised, he said.

‘‘It was nice to get the award, es­pe­cially as the cap­tain of my team and other play­ers were there on the night. But there are other peo­ple out there more de­serv­ing than me.’’

Football vol­un­teer: Gra­ham Phillips.

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