Soccer: Striker aims to stay on the ball

By Anendra Singh

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Tomas Mosquera Photo / Paul Taylor
Tomas Mosquera Photo / Paul Taylor

HE HAS had some good advice from coaches over the years but it's what Tom Mosquera's father says with religious monotony that resonates best with the soccer player.

Before every game Mosquera plays, Taranaki surgeon Damien Mosquera says: "Don't ever let anyone push you off the ball, son."

"He still says it," says the grinning Kinetic Electrical Hawke's Bay United striker before they kick off today at 5pm against Team Wellington at Park Island, Napier.

The 23-year-old, in his debut season for the Chris Greatholder-coached Bay United, has made a promising start in the ASB Premiership, finding the net three times in two games.

"It's early days yet but I'm hoping to beat my tally of last year [seven goals]," Mosquera says of his achievement for his former franchise, YoungHeart Manawatu, booted out of the national summer league after a few years of mediocre performances.

He was in the grip of a goal drought after Christmas as former Waitakere United Fiji inter-national Roy Krishna, now playing for Auckland City, won the golden boot bragging rights with 13 goals.

He shares first place with Waitakere's Richard Cardozo in the golden boot race this season.

For the record, Youngheart Manawatu's demise still rankles with Mosquera who feels they didn't deserve to become the sacrificial lamb despite finishing last in three consecutive summers.

"I didn't think we were worse than those two [Otago United and Waikato United]."

He accepts playing for a team, such as Bay United, does offer strikers better opportunities to score goals.

The Palmerston North Marist Central League player in winter prefers to be fed possession from in behind or running on to through balls into the 18m box.

An ambidextrous player who favours his right foot, he believes strikers are innately inherently selfish.

"You have to be at times for the benefit of the team," says the man who scored a goal with his left foot in the come-from-behind 3-2 win over Southern United in Napier.

He's not shy to use his head, nodding one past the keeper in the 2-0 victory over WaiBOP United in Cambridge last Saturday.

Most of Bay United teammates see him as the target man to feed but so do the opposition defenders, something he attributes to his lanky 1.87m frame.

"My techniques are certainly not the greatest but I'm improving under Chrissy and the other coaches here."

His footwork with receiving balls and getting others into play are two areas to focus on as well as his passing game.

He doesn't find any goalkeepers intimidating but he has yet to score against O-League giants Waitakere and Auckland City.

Bay United, he feels, may be the ticket to fulfilling that desire.

Off the field he has a placid demeanour but on it he becomes an aggressive unit.

Good strikers, he believes, have an innate sense of anticipation to be "in the right place at the right time".

Born in Birmingham, England, Mosquera emigrated with his Liverpudlian parents, Eileen and Damien Mosquera, as a 12-year-old in 2002.

He is the oldest of seven children, including four brothers.

"I have photos of me kicking the ball in the back yard from almost the day I could walk," he says, revealing his father played for his Liverpool University.

He is a quarter Spanish from his father's side but his mother's family are Everton supporters.

"My dad follows every game on the live [premiership] website.

"He puts a bet on the team to win."

Mosquera backs the Scousers as well, even though he recalls going to watch Aston Villa as well as Liverpool at Anfield as a youngster.

He was a midfielder but at Francis Douglas Memorial College, high school and Team Taranaki coach Ian McGrath moved him from the coalface to the striker's position.

"He saw something in me, probably because I was big and strong," he says, adding he scored a lot of goals in seventh form before doing it for Team Taranaki and later YoungHeart Manawatu.

In 2012 he played for Western Surburbs in Central League.

The Massey University biological science student, who graduates next year, is not entirely sure what he wants to do but he enjoys an academic life and will probably gravitate towards sports science.

His brothers, Damien jnr, a midfielder, and Sean, 13, a striker, look up to him.

"Sean plays better than me. He'll be good."

Having based himself in Palmerston North, Mosquera was looking for a change of scenery from a soggy Palmy so the move to the other side of the Manawatu Gorge beckoned.

"It gives me a bit of change here. I wanted to leave and Napier is a bigger city."

Fitting into the Bay United matrix, under Bill Robertson's captaincy, he is settling in just fine.

"They are a good bunch of guys so it's been pretty easy to.

"It's a good, professional environment here.

"Actually it's one of the best I've been in."

Today's game should be an exciting one with third-placed Bay United taking on Team Wellington below them three points behind but having played one more game.

The Matt Calcott-coached visitors have last season's Bay United midfielder, Cole Peverley, in defence.

Calcott says his men played two tough games first up - 4-1 and 2-0 defeats to Auckland City and Waitakere United, respectively - before beating Southern United 3-1.

"We held together as a group and the boys equipped themselves well even though the results weren't great," he says, feeling the vital thing now is to stay in touch with the leaders to make the playoffs.

Calcott says Peverley is a professional and is adapting well in playing either in the midfield or the defence.

His only change, he says, is the return of goalkeeper Jacob Spoonley who will also assume the mantle of captaincy.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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