Potential January recruits: Kaz Patafta

Over the next couple of weeks we’ll run down a couple of options for Brisbane when it comes to adding the squad for the remainder of the season. Today we’ll take a look at a midfielder who burst onto the scene as a teenager before falling off the map.

* I wasn’t planning on including Kaz in this, however since reports have emerged overnight that Brisbane have invited him for a trial we’ll take a look at what he could bring to the table.

Who is he?

Patafta at Brisbane training yesterday. (News Limited)

Patafta at Brisbane training yesterday. (News Limited)

Patafta, 25 came to prominence after coming through the Benfica youth and was selected by Guus Hiddink as a part of the train on squad in order to gain experience for the future. The first time Australian Football fans really saw him play however was back in 2007-08 when Melbourne Victory signed him on a 1 year loan deal, where after 14 appearances -1 goal- he returned to Benfica before securing a permanent return to Australia with Newcastle.

Over three seasons -2008-09 through 2010-11 Patafta made 33 appearances –one goal- however in truth he struggled to adapt to the physicality of the league and failed to deliver on a consistent basis, ultimately ending up being released by Branko Culina. It was however as a junior where Kaz really shone as apart of the u/17 and u/20 national sides. The question now is if he’s capable of recapturing his talent from his youth now in his mid 20’s.

After just over a year out of the game, Patafta returned to action against a Malaysian select squad playing for Canberra FC. After that, Patafta went on to make a further five appearances for the NPL side, including scoring a hat-trick against Cooma in a 7-2 win.

Pro’s:
– As mentioned above, he’s just attempted to re-started his career in the National Premier League system and four goals in five games is a solid return for someone out of the game for so long, albeit at a level below the standard of the A-League.

-As a creative player who was always pretty good on the ball, he would seem to be a reasonable fit in the Brisbane Roar midfield.

– The major impediment on his game in his last A-League stint was in relation to being pushed off the ball too easily, and you would imagine he would be stronger now then he was in his teens.

– He’s the type of player who could come in and do some of the things that Liam Miller was signed to do which seems to be the major need in the midfield after Miller’s less than fantastic start to the season. Even if it’s not as a starter, Patafta could bring something to the side in substitute appearances. Im not saying he would necessarily come in and replace Miller, but given he’s struggled to deliver this season, it could be a case of Mulvey looking around to find somebody to provide extra competition.

– He could be signed through the end of the season on a short term basis to further assess his ability. Brisbane have the ability to sign an injury replacement for midfielder George Lambadaridis who tore posterior cruciate ligament in the pre-season. To me, if he were to sign, this would be the most logical scenario.

Cons:
– He’s failed at this level at two separate clubs now –Melbourne and Newcastle- with the same issues coming up on each occasion; good on the ball, but pushed off it too easily.

– It’s highly unlikely he would be able contribute automatically given his lack of fitness from not playing. Having only played half a dozen games in the past two years would require him to go through almost a full pre-season and games in the NYL before being capable of performing at his best in the A-League.

– As I mentioned he showed glimpses of his talent however, it was never consistent across 90 minutes every week. He should be stronger on the ball now in his mid 20’s, but it’s not certain that he can deliver on a consistent basis.

– Since early 2011 when he was released by the Jets, he hasn’t played any professional football, instead opting to pursue a career outside of the game. It’s only recently that he’s returned to the game back in his home-town of Canberra.

As a player Kaz would be almost a perfect fit in the Brisbane system if he’s up to the level, and that’s the big question. Brisbane could bring him in as an injury replacement player which would then allow them to still go after what is their biggest need- a complementary goal scorer to the options they have. If the opportunity to sign a player who was so highly rated is always worth looking at. The worst case scenario is that he trains with the team for a week or so, isn’t up to the level and they opt not to sign him. No risk in that.

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