Westside Strikers sign former A-League star

Manny Muscat joins Westside Strikers. Picture Shawn Smits.

By Tara Murray

Manny Muscat has put retirement on the backburner for at least another season after signing with FV state league 4 west side Westside Strikers.

Having played nearly 200 A-League games and representing Malta nine times, Muscat returned to Green Gully in the National Premier League last season to wind down his career.

During last season, Muscat decided to hang up the boots.

But a few discussions with the Strikers – a club not far from home – has seen Muscat decide to continue his career.

Strikers president Sam Raniolo said there had been a real buzz around the club with the signing of Muscat.

“It is great for the club,” he said.

“He had planned to retire due to having a young family and work commitments.

“His brother Paul has played with us the last few years and we had a chat with him about playing for us.

“This would be the only time that he would have the opportunity to play with his brother.”

Raniolo said Muscat was still passionate about the sport and keen to take the opportunity to play with Paul.

Their parents are regular on the sidelines at Strikers home games.

Raniolo said they would use Muscat as the face of the club, as not many state league 4 clubs have the ability to sign someone with Muscat’s record.

“We’ll look to get him down to some of the junior games,” he said.

“The boys want to learn off Manny. It’s one of the reasons we got him, to learn from an experienced player like him.”

The signing of Muscat caps off the club’s signings, which they hope will make them title contenders.

Chris MacDonald has crossed from Altona City and Maksim Golijanin from Westgate are the other two big signings.

The club has kept the same coaching group with Zoran Kitanovski again as head coach.

Raniolo said they were looking to build on last year, their second senior season.

“We got off to fairly bad start, but we finished the year off well, undefeated in our last nine games,

“We consolidated and this year with the signings we have, we want to be pushing for state league 3.”

The Strikers got their FFA Cup campaign underway on Saturday with a win against Bell Park, 1-0.

Manny Muscat was the goal scorer on debut.

Spring Hills forfieted its match against Bunyip District.

Meanwhile, in the A-League, Western United broke out of its goal scoring slump with a rampaging 6-2 win over Central Coast Mariners at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong on Sunday.