Shepparton's Hussein Sumaili has won Goulburn North East Football Association's Rising Star and now he's looking forward to tackling Shepparton United in the Regional Premier League grand final.By Damen Francis
This time last year, Shepparton’s Hussein Sumaili was preparing for an ultimately unsuccessful Goulburn North East Football Association division two men’s grand final.
Tonight the young full-back will take on one of the toughest jobs in local soccer when he marshals Shepparton United dynamo Ben Clarke in the Regional Premier League grand final.
It will not be the first time Sumaili, 18, has gone toe-to-toe with Clarke this season.
Sumaili earned plenty of plaudits for shackling Clarke in round two, but the Blues wide man grabbed a crucial assist in the second semi-final win.
The importance of the Reds’ defender was also highlighted in round 11, when Clarke made the most of Sumaili’s absence to grab a brace in United’s 4-1 win.
Reds coach Matt Gray has shown plenty of faith in his project player and Sumaili said he was nervous, but excited for the challenge ahead.
‘‘I feel great, because playing on a better player than me helps me improve in the areas that I’m not good at and it’s also good experience for me,’’ Sumaili said.
‘‘I know what the people and the coaches expect from me and I try to do my best and play the way I always play.’’
Sumaili added further weight to his claim as one of the league’s most exciting homegrown talents, when he was crowned the inaugural GNEFA Rising Star on Monday night.
He was one of seven nominees vying for the award, which was voted on by senior coaches of the GNEFA member clubs.
To be recognised among his peers and by the league’s leading men was a great honour.
‘‘I feel happy about it and really proud of myself,’’ Sumaili said.
‘‘I know a lot of these guys, we’ve been friends since a young age and to win this award is pretty good.’’
Sumaili’s composure, speed and accurate left foot have helped him become a key part of Gray’s senior side.
When he was nominated for the Rising Star award in May, Sumaili said one area he could improve was his strength.
There was evidence of development in that part of his game during last week’s preliminary final against Cobram.
As well as keeping fellow young gun Pat Condidorio in his hip pocket, Sumaili held his own against Carl Lamb, when the powerful Tigers striker peeled out wide to find space.
Sumaili grew up in Congo and arrived in Australia with his family about eight years ago, following years of living in refugee camps.
His family has been a constant source of support, for which he was grateful, and there is no doubt they will be there cheering him on at McEwen Reserve tonight.
The Shepparton-based Ambulance Employees Union representative has slammed the latest wage offer from the Victorian Government as 'misleading and insufficient'.
After a tennis career spanning 62 years, of which the last 35 years have been as a coach, Yarrawonga's Jon Coleman is set to retire at the end of 2013.
The Shepparton Twilight Netball Competition came to a rewarding conclusion for the Tatura Under-13 girls on Sunday, December 1, when they took out the grand final.
A town car to help transport people from outlying areas into town for medical appointments or to go shopping could work in Echuca, according to Campaspe Shire mayor Ian Maddison.
Rochester resident Ken Hocking has chosen to use his Christmas lights display to draw attention to a support group for brain tumour patients.
Kyabram Lawn Tennis Club’s annual junior singles tournament again attracted good numbers from across the district.
But have opponents given up the fight?
Tocumwal Pre-School students are proudly flying their KITE at the Tocumwal Lions Community Hostel.
Tooborac Fire Brigade visited Tooborac Primary School last Tuesday to help the school complete its bushfire emergency management plan.
Residents urged to renew fruit fly baits to support local orchards.
Tim Hillier became the first Deniliquin Rhino to notch up a century in the Murray Valley Cricket Association with a sterling 104 against Cobram on Saturday.
Water held in spillable water accounts (SWAs) in the Murray and Goulburn systems will become available for use or trade following a declaration on Tuesday.
The hunt is on for a buyer for Benalla and Mansfield Toyota after the business went into receivership last fortnight.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.