Tasman United coach Davor Tavich wants to keep hold of job for next season

Tasman United coach Davor Tavich walks out through the tunnel prior to Saturday's final game of the season.
PHILLIP ROLLO/FAIRFAX NZ

Tasman United coach Davor Tavich walks out through the tunnel prior to Saturday's final game of the season.

It should come as no surprise that coach Davor Tavich wants to keep the Tasman United job for next season.

He expects to sit down with Tasman's board within the coming weeks to undertake a review of their inaugural Stirling Sports Premiership season, and to get some clarity around his future as coach of the franchise.

But after building a record of three wins, one draw and one loss, it seems unlikely that they will want to look anywhere else.

Tasman United players celebrate with goal scorer Paul Ifill during their 5-2 win over Southern United at Trafalgar Park.
PHILLIP ROLLO/FAIRFAX NZ

Tasman United players celebrate with goal scorer Paul Ifill during their 5-2 win over Southern United at Trafalgar Park.

Tavich said he is happy with the work he has done with Tasman at the end of the 2016-17 campaign. He took over from Richard Anderson at a difficult time, when the team was stuck at the bottom of the table and there were only five games left to salvage the season.

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But salvaging the season is exactly what the Nelson College director of football did, drawing away to Waitakere United, who were league leaders at the time, before picking up back-to-back victories over Hamilton Wanderers and Eastern Suburbs. There was one blip when Tasman fell to a record 5-1 defeat against Team Wellington, but their preparations for the game were far from ideal, having not played for three weeks as Team Wellington were at the OFC Champions League.

Tavich responded well though, masterminding Tasman's biggest win of the season with a depleted squad just six days later. He described Paul Ifill's four-goal contribution in the 5-2 victory over Southern United as the performance of the season.

That result meant Tasman had collected 10 points during Tavich's five-game tenure, enough to see them finish eighth on the table.

When quizzed on his future as Tasman coach, Tavich said he will definitely put his "name in the hat" for next season but expects some competition for the role.

"If you're coaching anywhere in New Zealand, the national league is the ultimate goal if you have ambitions to be a coach, and I do. I don't do courses for no reason, I don't leave home for two weeks at a time just to be an under-5 coach, so obviously I'd like to be considered for the position."

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Anderson may have lost the dressing room midway through the season, which resulted in his demise, but Tavich gave the Englishman credit for the foundations he laid, enabling an easy transition from assistant to head coach.

"He's done plenty of good work and he's a quality young coach. The team he left, for me it was a solid team with a good base for me, and the players themselves made me coming in very easy.

"I had 18-19 assistant coaches. Everyone was chipping in and having an input and opinion, so really it wasn't that hard to step in and finish the season so credit to Richard for doing a lot of good work, and more than anybody, credit to the players for making it as easy as possible."

The players have long said that they wanted to finish higher up the table but he thinks season one should still be considered a success.

"If you just look at the points people may say we failed here and there but I think if anything we achieved a lot more than we thought we would. For me personally I'm thrilled with the first season here. You come out and you see the crowd, the players with the quality, I thought it was an amazing first season."

Nelson teenagers Matt Tod-Smith, Labu Pan, David Maisey, Chester Gaskin and Callan Elliot all featured on Saturday, and Tavich said they proved a point in that game - that the local players are good enough.

"They showed to everyone, myself included, that they can play and that they are good enough to play. They're strong physically and they're definitely intelligent enough to play in this league, so everything is there for us to consider," he said.

"A Nelson team is for Nelson players and everybody that is good enough will play, and if they're not good enough then we will wait until they are good enough because at some point we want the majority of the players to be from the top of the south."

 - Stuff

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