Tasman United striker Jean Philippe Saiko has been at the forefront of a post-Christmas resurgence for the club. Photo: Shuttersport.

Tasman United turns fortunes around


Tasman United has dragged themselves from the bottom of the national premiership table to declare themselves playoff contenders in a dramatic turnaround to kick off the new year.

The franchise has enjoyed a reversal of fortune which has seen them go on a two-match winning streak, propelling themselves into the top four before slipping back to sixth after the weekend.

The resurgence began with a hard-fought win over Eastern Suburbs before making an emphatic 5-0 statement against Southern two weeks ago. Tasman then suffered a close 3-2 loss to Waitakere on Saturday but are still well in the hunt.

Coach Jess Ibrom says the recent run of form can be attributed to all the hard work that’s gone in, on and off the field.

As well as a change in results, Tasman also welcomed some new faces into its ranks in the form of American Ben Watson and Aussie Josh Sancusie.

Their arrivals came following the departures of Jama Boss, Facu Barbero, Alexi Varela and Hashim Noorazi. Jess says these players left the region for a variety of reasons, including work and family.

“It’s been a bit of a shift in terms of players vacated and we have had a couple come in, but most importantly we have found our goal scoring ability.”

He says, prior to Christmas they had an issue in converting the many opportunities they created.

“It’s really pleasing to see, there is a greater belief, and the confidence is high.”

However, Jess says the boys are a humble, hard-working group not taking any games lightly.

“We have proven we can do it and now we have to prove it every week, for us it’s about game on game.”

Jess says the league is one of the most open it’s been in a number of years.

“Everyone can beat everyone, our goal now is to maintain that form and stay in the top four.”

He says it is particularly pleasing to see the number of players from Nelson getting game time citing Jonty Roubos and Lachlan Brooks.

“These local, young guys are the future for Tasman.”

Tasman United have a home game at Saxton Field against Hawke’s Bay at 2pm this Sunday.