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Ifill always gave his all

By Seamus Boyer

Paul Ifill is a passionate footballer.

You could never accuse him of giving less than 100 per cent on the field, or suggest that he doesn’t like to win.

Anyone who has seen him play a match — whether at Westpac Stadium for the Wellington Phoenix, or at Memorial Park in Masterton — would attest to that.

It’s his never-lie-down attitude that has seen him succeed wherever he has played, and that includes at the highest level.

You don’t get to play an FA Cup final at Wembley if you lack commitment.

As the Wairarapa United coach Ifill was just the same.

Whether yelling at his players to get forward, or kicking water bottles in frustration at decisions, Ifill was always a passionate coach.

Now, after two years in charge which produced very different results, Ifill has been ousted as coach.

In his first season he guided Wairarapa United to an equal best-ever second place in the Central League, but wins became much scarcer this year and they plummeted to a worst-ever seventh placing on the league table.

In the end, it seems that it was those results that led United president Phil Keinzley to make the call to replace him.

That may prove to be short-sighted, depending on the calibre of the person Keinzley can get to replace Ifill.

There can’t be too many people around with Ifill’s pedigree to agree to come to Wairarapa to take up the reigns.

But knowing Keinzley, he’ll have something up his sleeve.

As for Ifill, he has spoken of his disappointment.

As he said: “One thing I do know, coaching at the top levels is a lot different from playing. It’s not an easy transition to make, certainly not as easy as I thought it was going to be. I’d be the first to admit that.”

But he still has his academy, and if he takes the same commitment and passion to coaching kids as he took to United, he will do extremely well.

It will only be a matter of time before some serious talent emerges from those ranks.

Maybe a player that could reach the same footballing stages as Ifill himself.

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