Marlborough Falcons striker Omar Guardiola has left the high-flying Nelson Marlborough-based football side and will play for Wairarapa United in the Central Premier League for the rest of the season.
Guardiola was sent off during the Falcons' match with Southern United, resulting in him being removed from the squad for the remainder of the ASB national youth league season.
"Omar won't be returning to play with the Falcons for our last few games this season after being red carded for striking a Southern United player on February 26," coach Davor Tavich said.
"As a coach I take discipline seriously, and all the Falcon players were warned at the beginning of the season about being red carded for such behaviour. Retaliation is not acceptable, no matter what the original offence was, so I hope Omar and all Falcon players have learned a valuable lesson that they can take with them into the future."
Tavich was full of praise though for Guardiola's valuable contribution since the Falcons' inaugural season. "He is one of the most talented football players the Top of the South has had, and we wish him well for his future with the Wairarapa United football club," Tavich said.
With the unbeaten Falcons looking likely finalists in the youth league, attention is turning towards a possible final venue. Falcons board member Nigel Thompson said the venue for the grand final would be determined by NZ Football at its sole discretion after the finalists were confirmed, "meaning we won't know where we will play until both conference winners are decided".
The Falcons' next match is against Team Wellington in the capital, kicking off at 3pm Sunday.
- The Marlborough Express