We sat down with inaugural Academy assistant coach Gezim Zeneli for a Q&A on what he will bring to his new role…
You’ve had a long background in playing football as well as being a personal trainer. How will that assist you in the transition to coaching?
I’ve had 21 years of playing football from juniors to seniors with the pinnacle being representing Carlton in Under 15s, Under 17s and Under 19s. I captained my local club, I captained my local school, I represented the inter-league as a vice captain and I hope to use my interchangeable skills with football and personal training in the Academy.
What were the key beliefs that you held to make a successful player over your career?
To be a successful player is to understand your role in the team. If everyone individually overcomes their opponent while as a team collectively following our game plan, we will win more times than we’ll lose.
What brought you to the Academy?
The fact that it’s in its inaugural season and down the track there are opportunities for the evolution of women’s football.
What do you love most about football as a player and a coach?
I love the fact that it challenges you mentally, physically, emotionally. I really enjoy the belief it gives you in life, it gives you the belief to handle other situations that come across in life. It gives you camaraderie and mateship that you keep for life.
The most important thing is to give each individual the understanding of what their strengths are and what their weaknesses are. You can enhance the strengths and work on the weaknesses to build a better culture and a better team but also have that inner belief in the individual as well.
What are you most excited about in joining the Academy?
The thing I’m most excited about is the support system we have in place. The women’s football team will benefit greatly with the tools that are available at the University, which aren’t necessarily available in the community. We’ve got specialised experts who will help develop the Academy to be a real force.
What would you say to any players considering joining the Academy?
Come down, it will be a social, fun, interactive environment that helps you grow. It’s all about having fun and growing.