Leading goalscorer’s exit proof of Debenham’s depth

MOVING ON: Despite being the clubs leading goalscorer last season, Debenham LC have allowed Paris Tuwizana to leave the club
MOVING ON: Despite being the clubs leading goalscorer last season, Debenham LC have allowed Paris Tuwizana to leave the club

Debenham LC manager Mark Benterman believes the decision to let Paris Tuwizana move on shows how much strength in depth he will have at his disposal this season.

Tuwizana was The Hornets’ leading goalscorer in 2016/17, finding the net on 16 occasions in 40 appearances.

But, despite it initially appearing as though he would lead the Debenham attack once again, the striker has been granted permission to join fellow Thurlow Nunn League First Division side Team Bury.

While Benterman has conceded it was tough to sanction Tuwizana’s exit, he revealed that with his summer recruitment in mind, he could no longer guarantee the frontman regular match action.

“Paris is a great footballer and it was very hard to let him go,” said Benterman, who took charge at Maitlands in January.

“He wanted to be guaranteed a starting place, but with the strength in depth we now have, I could not do that.

“Last year was different, but things are different now. We have brought in some real quality.

“I want the players to be fighting for their positions — competition is healthy.

“It shows the progress we have made since coming in that we cannot guarantee games to players like Paris.”

Midfielder Jake Gathercole is another high-profile exit, while Sam Diaper is likely to leave on loan.

However, with a number of additions — including Shaun Hunsdon, Lamell Howell, James Crissell and Reumel Codrington — Benterman has lofty ambitions.

“It is an exciting time. I truly believe this is the best squad I have assembled in my managerial career,” said the former Halstead Town chief.

“I want us to push forward. We need to be looking at somewhere between sixth and eighth, at least.

“I am not here to settle for finishing in 13th or 14th position. We want to be challenging.

“We have some very good players, so the plan is to make a statement.”

While others are in Emirates FA Cup action tomorrow afternoon, Debenham will immediately have their focus on league matters with the visit of AFC Sudbury Reserves (3pm).

“We have had a good pre-season and the boys are excited to get down to the nitty gritty of league football,” said Benterman.

“Sudbury have some good young players and will not be easy, but we need to get off on the right foot.”

Striker Hunsdon should be fit to take his place in the squad for the clash with Sudbury’s second string, but a knee injury is likely to sideline Matt Poxon.