Teenager Pan signed by Tas­man United

Nelson Mail - - SPORT - PHILLIP ROLLO

Tas­man United coach Da­vor Tavich is happy to con­tinue mak­ing spe­cial ex­emp­tions when it comes to sign­ing play­ers from Nel­son’s di­vi­sion one foot­ball com­pe­ti­tion.

Tavich has con­firmed the sign­ing of FC Nel­son’s Labu Pan, who will jump two-tiers to play in the ISPS Handa Pre­mier­ship this sum­mer.

Pan, a 19-year-old for­mer Nel­son Col­lege stu­dent with a knack of scor­ing out­ra­geous bi­cy­cle kicks, made one ap­pear­ance for Tas­man last sea­son, start­ing in their fi­nal game against South­ern United.

Prior to that he was a reg­u­lar in Tas­man’s Na­tional Youth League squad.

Pan opted against play­ing in the Main­land Pre­mier League dur­ing win­ter but ex­celled for di­vi­sion one cham­pi­ons FC Nel­son, scor­ing 20 goals and help­ing them se­cure their first ti­tle since 2013.

Tavich said de­spite play­ing in a third-tier com­pe­ti­tion, the left­back was de­serv­ing of a Tas­man con­tract.

"He looked at home at train­ing and he trained very hard and didn’t look out of place at all. I think he’s go­ing to give it a good crack at the start­ing 11 and the match day squad and I’m very ex­cited about the prospect of hav­ing young Labu there be­cause I be­lieve he’s earned his spot," Tavich said.

"I’ve known Labu for a long time and he’s a qual­ity foot­baller. If he was mid-20s with­out any am­bi­tions to play any higher it would be a dif­fer­ent story, or if he was play­ing third di­vi­sion at mid20s but Labu is just out of school last year.

"I have no is­sue what­so­ever with Labu or any­one at that stage com­ing up and prov­ing their worth, es­pe­cially the play­ers I’ve known for many years on and off the field.

"Labu fits the pro­file that he can de­velop and hope­fully he’s go­ing to stick around with a few other boys in Nel­son be­cause they are the type of play­ers that we need to take us into the fu­ture."

Al­though still el­i­gi­ble for NYL se­lec­tion, Tavich has laid down the chal­lenge to Pan to earn a start­ing role with the first team.

Pan is the 17th player to sign with Tas­man.

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