COACH Goran Stajic has assembled a 13-man WA State Paralympic squad to compete in the National Paralympic Football Championships in Sydney this week.
The tournament, which is played under the Paralympic seven-a-side format, starts at Valentine Sports Park tomorrow and runs until Sunday.
Captain Patrick Amato and Raymond Ellery, both from Mandurah, as well as Jordan De Stefano from Wannanup, will represent a record regional WA contingent in a squad aiming to improve on last year’s performances.
Football West inclusive participation officer Gordon Duus said WA was sending a full squad for the first time.
WA will take on teams from Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, as well as a combined team from ACT, South Australia and NSW.
“The squad has had an ideal preparation with friendly games and intensive training under Goran over the past 12 months and they’re looking forward to the challenge of taking on the other states,” Duus said.
“The players were extremely competitive at last year’s National Championships and this time with the strongest WA squad ever assembled will be expecting to build on that performance with another good showing in Sydney.”
The WA squad contains four players aged 16 or younger and there are as many as seven players who could come into contention for selection for the 2017 Australian Pararoos Under-19 team.
WA Paralympic Football is part of Football West’s elite pathway that identifies talented players and offers development opportunities.
Paralympic football is accessible to players with disability-based physical impairment and is underpinned by club-based teams, which cater for beginners through to advanced players.
Squad: Patrick Amato (Suburb: Mandurah; Club: Port Kennedy SC); Chris Barty (North Perth; North Perth); Setha Chhum (Alexander Heights; Tuart Hill JSC); Jordan De Stefano (Wannanup; WAPF); Alessandro La Verghetta (Balcatta; Noranda City SC): Christopher Minutillo (Spearwood; Cockburn City); Samuel McConnachy (Alexander Heights; WAPF); Rodrigue Niyongere (Wanneroo; WAPF); Nicholas Prescott (Tapping; WAPF); Levi Saunders (Booragoon; Cockburn City SC); Andrew Staddle (Duncraig; Tuart Hill JSC); Ben Tirabosco (Maida Vale; WAPF); Raymond Ellery (Mandurah; Southern Sharks).
Coach: Goran Stajic
Assistant coach and team manager: Michael Owens