Sande’s memories with side will last forever

Iganacio Sande. Photo: Abbey Palmer
Iganacio Sande. Photo: Abbey Palmer
A new face will guide Southern United in this year’s national women’s football premiership.

Ignacio Sande is moving on after three years as the team’s head coach.

The Football South Southland officer said he could not commit to the coaching role this year.

He said it was a shame to resign and the opportunity to coach the team had been a great one.

However, personal circumstances had to take priority and the time involved — which included travelling from Invercargill to Dunedin for training and games — had been a big factor in that.

Sande took over the team after its breakout year in 2017 when it finished third after a decade at the bottom of the table.

While it never reached those heights under Sande, it remained a competitive outfit.

After a fifth-placed finish in his first year, the side claimed fourth in the past two seasons, displaying a consistency that had allowed it to remain competitive, and ensuring it had not been a one-year-wonder.

Maintaining that consistency had been among the things Sande had been pleased with during his tenure.

"For me it was all highlights," he said.

"I learned so much.

"I came from a men’s football background, it was one of my first experience with women’s.

"I met wonderful people from the coaching staff, manager to all the players and I had some memories that will last forever.

"To be able to meet people and make friends and to try our best to win games.

"I think any team can win one-off but I think the team since [previous coach] Terry [Parle] started out in 2017, we showed consistency since then.

"That’s something that is one of the harder things in football, is to be consistent, so I think that was the main highlight for me."

The league was undergoing change as it moved towards the same club-based set-up the men’s national league will shift to.

That will have a hybrid look to start with, as several club teams from Auckland will join the federation-based teams around the country.

Sande felt Southern was in a good place.

"More than the results it was just the feeling that we are competitive and we can beat any team in the league.

"Of course, there are a lot of things to improve and there will be a lot of things for the next coaching staff.

"But the base is good and football is growing, there is more investment in women’s football.

"I’m very pleased I’m leaving now and the team is in a better space."

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