Sabaratnam to lead United

Kogulan Sabaratnam (supplied)

Harper Sercombe

Former Calder United technical director Kogulan Sabaratnam has been announced as head coach ahead of the National Premier League Women’s season.

Sabaratnam has experience in both the A-League and NPL system at the junior, senior, and technical director level.

In addition to his role at Calder, he is an individual development coach with the Western United A-League women’s team.

This is Sabaratnam’s long awaited first time as a senior head coach, he said while he was ambitious for a role like this early in his career, now is the opportune time for him.

“It was exciting to be given the opportunity with the seniors and my first appointment as a senior coach as well,” he said.

“I wanted it very early on but I don’t think I was ready for it. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to work in a lot of good environments up to now.

“Taking those experiences, I’m best prepared now to tackle a senior gig like the Calder role.”

He said his developmental role with Western United’s senior women’s team will allow him to continue to foster the local talent that Calder has, and continue to strengthen the relationship between the clubs.

“It’s really good for me to see how we can bridge the gap between players playing in the NPLW level wanting to break into the women’s A-League space,” he said.

“Being able to rely on mentors that exist with the Western group, whether they’re coaches, analysts, in administration, all of those ties with the A-League club make it really beneficial for us to take the next step up in our quality and give the best outcomes to the players.”

After finishing the NPL season in fourth last season, and winning its sixth consecutive Nike F.C Cup, United went through big list changes. Sabaratnam said roughly 85 per cent of the senior playing group are new to the club.

“We’re waiting to make the announcements officially, but we have signed some experienced footballers with a mixture of some younger talent,” he said.

“We’ve had some players promoted from our under-20s group and there are players we’ve brought in from other NPL clubs.

“I can guarantee that the squad that we’ve got will be a very competitive squad and I think that they’ll definitely be a group that will have a very cohesive attitude by the time the season comes around.”

While Sabaratnam isn’t setting any limits on what his new looking squad can do, there is something that is of utmost importance to him and the club.

“For a lot of the players that we’ve brought in and myself included, we want to enjoy our football,” he said.

“So, the number one thing that I want to see from our group is the ability to come together and play well, to really define a brand of football. I want to make it really clear to the players and therefore what the players demonstrate what the vision and philosophy of the club club looks like and tie that in with getting some results.

“Like with any program you want to win as many games as possible, you want to challenge but I’m not putting too much pressure on the end result. The end result of potentially making finals or winning a championship is a by-product of what we’re trying to do which is implement a clear style and vision where we can see our players progress more easily into the A-League space and likewise our players coming through the junior program are more easily able to transition based on the similarities between how we’re going to be playing across the groups.”

Calder will kick off its season and new era under Sabaratnam against FV Emerging on March 16.