Teenager Pan signed by Tasman United
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.