Kaizen v Ole - battle of the academies

Wellington Olympic 2 Western Suburbs 1
Central League
Wakefield Park
Saturday 16th April 2016
Attendance around 150

This week the game I attended was decided by work, I had to work until 5 which usually negates most games in Wellington on a Saturday, but then I discovered Wellington Olympic were hosting Western Suburbs at Wakefield Park with a 5:45pm kick off. Woohoo!

This did present a problem – photography under lights, last time I tried this I ended up with lots of shots where the ball looked like Halley's Comet. I remembered Enzo from In the back of the net had written about this issue in a blog and using some of these ideas I tried a few different things. At first it was good but then it was still light, once the night fell it was harder I tried a few different settings and got a couple of OK shots, then tried something else and ended up with completely white pictures! After trying a few other things I couldn't remember the settings I'd used to get the OK photos so gave up and just watched the game instead.
An OK photo (as long as I don't zoom in!)

Wellington Olympic are the team of the sizable Greek community in Wellington, founded in 1953 as Apollon, they changed their name to Christian Youth FC in 1959 before changing to Wellington Olympic in 1983. They are coached these days by ex All White Stu Jacobs, who has coached among others Miramar, Team Wellington, NZ U23's Central Coast Mariners youth team and today's opponents, Western Suburbs. He also runs his own academy – The Kaizen Football Academy.

Western Suburbs are one of Wellington's oldest teams, founded as a staff team of Porirua Mental Hospital and originally known as Mental Hospital FC, becoming Western Suburbs in 1956, they then had a couple of name changes (Porirua United, Porirua Viard-United) and then merged with Mana United in 1992 and reverted to the Western Suburbs name. In the 1990's they were involved in setting up the Ole Academy (who are based in the old Mental Hospital grounds where Western Suburbs were founded). Their current coach is another ex All White, Declan Edge, another who had his own academy and is now in charge of the Ole Academy.

So this game could be described as the battle of the academies (well thats what I'm describing it as). When I was young there were no such things as academies, coaches would use scouting networks and junior rep programs to pick up what they thought were the best players and coaching was pretty rudimentary. These days there seem to be academies everywhere, this can be good and bad, I know someone involved with a junior club who has told me the number of academies around has definitely affected the parent volunteers as most of them expect junior clubs to provide some sort of academy coaches. Also player development is restricted if it is only with players your own age, you need to be in the game with older players who will kick you and look after you and teach you about the realities of the game.
Jimmy Haidakis (Olympic) keeping the ball away from Wests Will Walker

Western Suburbs \ Ole passed the ball around and played some nice football but seemed to have forgotten the aim of the game was to score goals. Several times they had players break in to the Olympic penalty area and instead of shooting they passed the ball across the goal (and on one occasion passed the ball backwards!) and it was telling that their goal came from a penalty. They had some quality players including NZU20 internationals Noah Billingsley and keeper James McPeake (who is one of the nosiest keepers I've heard for a long time). Olympic had a few players that had played in the youth league and the difference was that they were always attacking the goal and they had Gianni Bouzoukias up front who can score goals, and he did getting 2 in the 2nd half to give Olympic a 2-1 win.

As it's referee's week, put down of the week has to go to the assistant referee who late in the 2nd half was told by a Western Suburbs player that he had no integrity, his reply was “neither have you, you can't even score a goal!”


  1. Cameras eh? Tricky beasts.... ;-)

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