Back on the Coast after his spell in Singapore, we caught up with former Mariners & Tampines Rovers custodian Justin Pasfield.Once a Mariner, always a Mariner.
That’s how it goes at the Club, so it was no surprise that former custodian Justin Pasfield, who spent three seasons with the yellow and navy during a golden period for the Mariners between 2011 and 2014, was welcomed back to a recovery session in Terrigal this week with open arms.
Pasfield has spent the last six months in Singapore with Tampines Rovers, however will return to Australia for next season to ply his trade with NSW NPL 1 outfit Sydney United 58 coached by Fox Football’s Mark Rudan.
We had a chat with Pasfield, who will be at Sunday’s game against Adelaide United, to see how he enjoyed his time playing professionally in South East Asia’s most advanced country.
CCMFC: Justin, how did you enjoy playing in Singapore?
Justin Pasfield (JP): It was good, it was a great experience for myself going to a different country in Asia where not many people know about the league. The S-League has actually been around for a long time, a lot of ex-NSL [National Soccer League] players played there (ed: including Wayne O’Sullivan), so the experience was great. The football was also quite good. Singapore is a very clean country, and the locals are great. I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of infrastructure and all that type of thing, but it was fantastic. There was a Kiwi boy in our team, Jake Butler, so that made the transition easier, too.
CCMFC: Would you recommend playing in Singapore to other Aussie boys?
JP: For sure, it’s definitely an option for Australian boys. I went over there with an open mind, and I didn’t know what to expect in terms of football and professionalism. But the Club was fantastic and did everything they possibly could to help me settle in. Singapore is probably the most westernised part you are going to get in South East Asia, so it’s good for Australian players.
CCMFC: You played with the great Aleksander Duric during your time with Tampines – an ex-NSL player. Can you shed some light about one of the legendary men in Asian football?
JP: Aleks is a freak – in a good way. He’s 44 years old and he was fitter than most of the blokes in the league. He runs 10 kilometres a day, every day, and he was also strength & conditioning coach at the Club. It just goes to show that if you keep yourself in good condition you can play for a long time. Aleks played for a number of Clubs in Australia and he even knows John Hutchinson – I think they were at Gippsland Falcons together. He was at Marconi too before he went to Singapore and became one of their all time greats.
CCMFC: You’ve linked up with Sydney United 58 for next season’s NPL NSW competition. What’s behind your reason to coming back to Australia? Did you have the option to stay in Singapore?
JP: Yeah I did have the option to stay in Singapore, but the decision I made was based on a few other things that I have in the pipeline that I want to get started here in Australia. I am 30 next year so I need to start planning for the future for myself. That said I still want to play at the highest level I can. The opportunity to play at Central Coast Mariners for three years was very good, and I still have a lot of close friends in the team. I know Mark Rudan from our time together at Sydney FC, so before I even asked any questions to him about Sydney United 58, what he told me convinced me to sign there. ‘Rudes’ has everything down pat at Sydney United, and there are some great facilities there. I am really looking forward to going back in the State League and taking on a leadership role with the young boys at the Club. That said, I will never rule out going back into the Hyundai A-League if an opportunity came along.
CCMFC: You’re at recovery today which shows how close you remain to the Club and players. Have you been following the team’s fortunes closely?
JP: All Hyundai A-League games were actually live in Singapore, so I have caught pretty much every game the Mariners have played. I am very close to many of the boys and always will be, coaching staff included. It’s been a bit of a slow start to the season but I definitely think they are starting to get a roll on. The team has been busy with Westfield FFA Cup, so that’s tough. I was here when we were going through ACL at the same time as Hyundai A-League and it’s not easy. I think as the season turns over, the boys will really start to gel and get results.
CCMFC: Cheers Juzzo!
Central Coast Mariners vs. Adelaide United - Hyundai A-League 2014/15 Round 7
When: Sunday 23 November 2014
Where: Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Tickets: Pre-purchase here (discount window from Monday 17 (9:00am) - Friday 21 November (5:00pm))
Twitter: @CCMariners #CCMvADL