Box Hill United U/14 and U/16 girls’ head coaches Orlando Morales and Abdul Doostizadah praised their charges’ improved displays in tune-ups on Sunday.
The girls returned to action for the first time since the easing of COVID-19 restrictions on football activities, with friendlies against Alamein at Wembley Park.
The U/14s emerged 1-0 winners thanks to Briana Zdravkovski's resolute strike, while Gemma Carlin's solitary goal capped off an intense 1-0 outing for the U/16s.
Morales noted the small things done well, which contributed to the U/14s’ win. “The girls [have] definitely improved a lot,” Morales said. “Just small things like their passing accuracy [and] their intensity, [have] definitely improved, which allowed us to get a goal. So, that helped.”
Excited to be gradually phased back into matches following staged easing of mandated restrictions, Morales added, “I’m definitely excited to be back, the girls are excited to be back. So hopefully, we can keep going, keep the momentum going, and win more games.”
Following a similarly committed display, Doostizadah commended the improvements from his U/16s’ squad.
“The team had faded in the last five or 10 minutes. But then once they peaked, they moved the ball [and] did a lot of good combination play. So, as a coach, it was very impressive”, Doostizadah said. “The girls made us very proud, [I was] very happy with the result and the way they played.”
While the COVID-19 restrictions required a rethink of how to train and keep fit while in isolation, Doostizadah was able to see the positives in the difficult situation all teams faced.
He pinpointed Box Hill’s weekly video competition as an engaging way for the girls to stay sharp while training at home.
Doostizadah said, “When they came back [to training], we saw the difference. So, for us, it has really worked. The girls worked hard during those restrictions.
“When we started [restricted training], we had some more time and there was no pressure of the games. So, we worked on our technique and some [other] areas, and we saw the result [against Alamein],” he said.