Newly appointed Greensborough senior men’s football coach Saade Ghazi is excited to return to the local football system and is looking forward to coaching his own side again.
A VFA/VFL legend with Williamstown, Ghazi was appointed as successor to Mick Harford, who led the Boro for the past three years, which included a grand final appearance in 2019.
The 1999 Liston Trophy winner has spent the last two seasons as senior assistant coach of Williamstown’s VFL side, following stints as head coach of WRFL club Altona and Avondale Heights in the EDFL.
This will be his second stint in the NFNL, having previously represented Epping as playing coach for three seasons between 2001 and 2003.
Speaking to NFNL.org.au, Ghazi felt the time was right to move on from the VFL system and return to local football and said he had been gunning for the top job at War Memorial Park from the moment the position became available.
“After this year to be honest, I felt that I really wanted to get back and be in charge of my own team and that was the reason I departed Williamstown, just to seek the ideal senior coaching role,” Ghazi said.
“The one thing I really wanted to seek was a role at a side that was top-two or three. A lot of my other jobs had been at clubs where they’ve been lower on the ladder, and I’ve had to work the team up the ladder.
“So, when it [the Greensborough coaching job] was advertised… and once I did apply for it, to be honest I really wanted to get it because I know it’s a good footy club, it’s a strong, well-run footy club in a strong metro competition and that was the attraction.”
Ghazi aims to use some of his own learnings as an assistant under current Williamstown coach Justin Plapp to educate his new playing group, particularly when it comes to training.
“I think a lot of the drills now are game simulation based with smaller groups and trying to defend the footy,” he said.
“With Justin Plapp bringing his expertise from Melbourne to Williamstown this year, finding the right training components and being up to the trends of the modern game will be the main thing I’ll try to implement.”
Ghazi has wasted no time preparing for the 2022 season, contacting players and staff as pre-season training approaches.
“At the moment, I’m talking to all the players individually over the phone. I’m about halfway through that list, and the idea is to speak to all the players and then hopefully have a meet the coach day in November if Covid allows,” he said.
“The response has been really encouraging so far from the players and they’re full of enthusiasm. They’ve missed two years of footy basically so I can understand that they’re pretty keen to get back into it.”
Despite the season not commencing until April, Ghazi is already excited by the prospect of returning to senior coaching.
“I think it’s just that buzz you get on match day. You’ve done all the work during the week, and you’re playing an opposition and you respect who you play and then trying to help in your little way,” he said.
“Obviously we want to win games of footy and that’s what we’re going to be based on, but as long as the group is playing with great intent and the Greensborough supporters and their families are proud of the effort they put in, then hopefully the results will look after themselves.”