Two Loyal servants leave The Bastion in January, we catch up with them and reflect
The Bastion Insider:- Hi Josh you have been with us for 4 seasons, how have you felt your time at Zoca has gone?
Josh Lombard:- I have really enjoyed my time at zoca. Since I joined 4 seasons ago I’ve met so many people and made so many friends. Its a team which has always strived to improve but always valued its players. It’s safe to say that its more than just a Club.
The Bastion Insider:- Hey Vatman, you sadly depart us mid season for new career pastures, how have you felt your 2nd time at Zoca has gone?
Karim Vatvani:- Zoca is a special club and it’s always an honour to step onto the court with the lads. I rejoined a team with a different mindset to the Leo Bastion team that I left years ago. The competition for places and drive to reach new levels has been evident from the start and this enabled me to raise my performance to the calibre that is now expected of such a talented group. Although the past season in particular has been marred with a few injuries, I’m happy with my contribution to the team as a whole. I like to think that the energy that I’ve brought in has had the effect that was intended when Chris brought me back in. The lads are all fitter then when I started, Carl Linares has even been known to sprint once in a while, I think I can take some credit for that!
"When I first joined we were a mid table second division team. Since then I’ve seen us get promoted and compete with some of the top teams in premier division" - Lombo
The Bastion Insider:- What has been your best memory personally and as a team?
Lombo:- Has to be my goal against Lek which cemented our win and ultimately got us promoted. Individually and as a team I think that is my best memory. We kept going till the end and never gave up.
Vatman:- The last game I scored more than Seany G and I’ll never let him forget that one. I think that the past couple of seasons have been filled with many awesome moments, we’ve experienced highs and lows but the attitude of the team as a whole is what resonates with me the most as a collective favourite moment. We have experienced crushing defeats and then go on to respond with emphatic victories, that has somehow become ‘The Zoca Way’ and although we still need to find a way to eradicate the silly losses, the attitude and ‘bouncebackability’ of the team is stronger than that of any team I’ve played for before. It is part of what makes playing for this club so phenomenal…Serra getting the Ronaldo celebration wrong and doing ‘the Mummy’ and Stef needing Lions to tell him how many to put in the wall were also standout moments too to be fair.
The Bastion Insider:- How do you feel the club has progressed since you arrived?
Lombo:- When I first joined we were a mid table second division team. Since then I’ve seen us get promoted and compete with some of the top teams in premier division. All this has been made possible through hard work from management as well as the players. From what used to be a bunch of lads who enjoyed a kick about has turned into a hungry, competitive and well disciplined team.
The Bastion Insider:- How do you feel the team has changed/progressed from your first time here to now?
Vatman:- Coming home to the Zoca family was a special moment for me. Although some of the core group were still there, there was also new talent and an all-round great ambiance in the group that created a buzz about the team that was different from the last time. I knew coming back into the setup that this was a team moving in the right direction and this has been evident in some of the results over the past two seasons. The squad has developed a long way and continues to show signs of being a real force in the league. I’m proud to have contributed my part and definitely sad to leave at a time where there’s a real chance of making the play-offs, but I have full confidence that squad has the ability to get there. Good luck boys!
"We have experienced crushing defeats and then go on to respond with emphatic victories, that has somehow become ‘The Zoca Way’" - Vatman
The Bastion Insider:- Who do you think you've learnt the most from your time at Zoca?
Lombo:- I’ve been lucky in the sense that I’ve played with some top players and learnt from them. From the Valverdes a few years ago to more recently Sean ballester, Carl linares and Jamie currer. Players that can read the game incredibly well.
The Bastion Insider:- Which player do you feel you had the best understanding with?
Vatman:- Easy question. I’ve played football with the Magician, Sean Grech, for the best part of the last 20 years and we have what some would call an unspeakable connection that transcends beyond definition. It’s a bromance for sure, he even lets me hug him sometimes now. The lad is quality and although Zoca have always known it, I think it’s only been this season that others have begun to notice what a great talent the Bastion have in their arsenal. To be fair to Paul Podesta, he’d be up there too if I’d found my shooting boots, will have to keep looking for those in Dubai.
The Bastion Insider:- Last but not least who runs more on the field, you or Vatman 😆?
Lombo:- Has to be the Vatman. I can’t compete with a man named after a superhero.
The Bastion Insider:- Last but not least who is fitter you or Serra 😆
Vatman:- Bleep test and Vo2 Max results speak for themselves. There can only ever be one true Zoca Fitness Goat.