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Clarence Zebras merger sees new era for Tassie football

YOUTH, aggression, and dynamics are ingredients in the mix for the future of the newly launched top-tier football club in Tasmania.

The Clarence Zebras Football Club is the result of a merger between successful football club Hobart Zebras and Clarence Football Club.

For Clarence Zebras co-president Ronnie Bolton, who was the president of Clarence Football Club, the merger was a “no brainer” in light of the positioning of Clarence at the bottom of the ladder for the past few years.

Mr Bolton said the launch of the new football club was an “absolutely fantastic day” and he was looking forward to the future ahead.

With 20 more Clarence Zebras teams to take on others in junior and senior men’s and women’s competitions, development is a strong focus for the new club.

“You’ve got to set the bar as high as you can,” newly appointed NPL coach David Smith said.

“We want it to be young, we want it to be aggressive, we want it to be a little bit dynamic and we want to take a few risks and we’re going to learn a lot of hard lessons through the year.”

The merging of the two clubs is expected to unite up to 500 players, which co-president Nick Di Giovani, formerly president of Zebras Football Club, said called for things to be done a bit differently.

“We’ve got a long-term plan, not a short-term plan, so you’ll probably see a lot more youth development through this year and obviously as a club, we’ve got to start doing things differently for the future,” he said.

Mr Di Giovanni also said improving the home ground’s infrastructure was important as the new club sought future growth.

“We’ve got to be looking at infrastructure and the way this ground and this facility will be five or 10 years down the track for the people of the Eastern Shore,” he said.

“In the future, the development of this ground is probably what is going to make the Eastern Shore something special.”

Mr Smith said the Clarence Zebras had a really good opportunity to develop and that its youth program was more important than anything else.

“The aim is that we home-produce players – that’s what it’s about, we’ve got to be self-sufficient,” he said.

“It’s about getting the right people on board, the right coaches, the right board and setting up the right principles – we want to make sure this football club stays long term.”

The Clarence Zebras will field teams in both the National Premier League of Tasmania and the Women’s Super League competitions, wearing its new black home strip and red away strip.

Caption: Clarence Zebras Football Club players, coaches and committee reveal the playing strip.