Ciampa takes reins as City looks overseas

FOR the first time in club history, Griffith City FC looks set to bring in a group of overseas players as it targets a maiden GDFA finals appearance this year.

The joint-venture club is believed to be in talks with several imports from Zimbabwe who would significantly strengthen City's push for a top-four berth in 2014.

Club president Geoff Bortolin was tight-lipped when asked about the rumours this week but declared Griffith City is keen to take things up a notch or two this season.

"Off the field we're going great guns. We just want to bring that on the field now," he said.

"Our main aim is to make the finals. Griffith City's never done that before.

"We are looking at strengthening our squad with some players who aren't locals, but nothing's been confirmed yet.

"We are still using our juniors from last year - we gave some a chance and one or two of them will definitely play first-grade. 

"We're not disregarding the locals, they're definitely involved, but they too want us to strengthen the team."

Already, the club has locked in its coach after luring ex-Yoogali coach Pat Ciampa out of semi-retirement to take the helm of the first-grade team.

Ciampa has a wealth of experience both locally in Griffith and in inter-town competitions including the ill-fated Regional Premier League.

The veteran striker spent last year playing for Griffith City's over 35s team and became more and more involved with the club over the course of the season, eventually indicating his interest in a return to coaching.

Ross Panebianco, who was City's captain-coach last year, will continue in a playing capacity only.

Bortolin said Ciampa is an intelligent manager who will bring plenty of know-how to the club.

"We were after a coach with that sort of experience and he's got that behind him. He's got a bit of everything," he said.

"He played for our 35s last year and got involved with the club a little bit, and said he could be interested in coaching.

"He hasn't played first-grade for a year or two so he'll have to get that up and going again but once he does, he'll be alright."

Local fans will get their first glimpse at Griffith City at next month's Real Juice Cup knockout competition.

Meanwhile, City has partnered with Coerver Coaching, a global football coaching programme inspired by the teachings of Dutch coaching legend Wiel Coerver and backed by some of the biggest names in the game.

Griffith City has introduced first-grade players Ben Duggin and Ross Morgan, who are Coerver Riverina directors, as consultants to the club's entire coaching set-up, from under 6s right up to the senior level.

"In essence, this is about increasing the quality of our players," Bortolin said.

"Having a framework will stabilise our club's style of play and standardise our training sessions and coaches, making transitions through each age group easy as the players progress."

Bortolin also said Griffith City was likely to field a women's team this year, which would give the club a full compliment in all of the GDFA's senior grades.

NEW MAN IN CHARGE: Pat Ciampa has been appointed first-grade coach of Griffith City FC as the club explores the possibility of bringing in overseas players this year.

NEW MAN IN CHARGE: Pat Ciampa has been appointed first-grade coach of Griffith City FC as the club explores the possibility of bringing in overseas players this year.


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