By ADEM SARICAOGLU
ALTONA Magic coach Pece Stojevski was forced to push the restart button on the 2014 season shortly before it kicked off.
In December Stojevski began preparing a team for what he thought was Magic’s inaugural season as part of Football Federation Victoria’s new National Premier Leagues concept.
However, the club was not included as part of the final cut, catching Stojevski off-guard ahead of the season’s launch.
“We were supposed to be in the NPL this year but somewhere along the line the documents were lodged a little late,” Stojevski explained.
“I’d been building a team for the NPL since December and it was a very good team. It was a multi-cultural team and very strong so that we could compete in the NPL.
“But as soon as we found out the NPL wasn’t on for the players, 10 or so first 11 senior players left. They went to play in the NPL, so that’s most of the players.
“Four players went to Werribee (City) and some all over Victoria, so I had to start building a new team and this is our second team we have in now.”
Three matches into the State League One North-West season, Magic sits sixth on the table with one win and a draw.
After beating Fitzroy 1-0 in the opening round, Magic fell to a heavy 2-4 loss away to Keilor Park.
Then last weekend came the much-anticipated local derby with neighbour Altona East Phoenix, which ended in a 1-1 draw at Paisley Park – a venue shared by Magic and Phoenix.
“We should’ve won,” Stojevski said.
“We copped a goal from a loss of concentration, we created heaps of chances, we’re a much better team and we should’ve won very easily.
“It hurt me a little bit but I have to put up with it because we’re inexperienced and I haven’t had much time to work with them.”
Still learning about the credentials of his new-look and young squad, Stojevski isn’t yet sure how far Magic can go this season, but is hoping to be up there when the whips are cracking at the business end.
“You never know what’s going to happen,” he said.
“I can’t predict the future. Our ambition was to win the league this year.
“That’s what the team was built on. Not being in the NPL hurt us, so it’s not easy but I hope the players can respond.”