Football NSW was saddened to hear the news of the unfortunate passing of one of the state’s most adored club administrators, APIA Leichhardt Tigers own superstar, Emanuele Ziino.
For Mannie, APIA Leichhardt Tigers was more than just a team, it was his life.
Ziino started supporting the club as a five-year-old, travelling to Lambert Park as a youngster with his family.
The following 47 years, the staunch APIA supporter was also a fan, player and official, such was his dedication to his adored club.
Football NSW had conducted an interview with Mannie two years ago and it was clear to see how much he loved his club.
“My first involvement with the club was as a supporter and I just haven’t looked back,” he said.
“Even till today I am the team manager for first grade, I help with the juniors and I also look after the tour to Italy every year being the Viareggio Tournament.
“I can remember as a kid going to games at Lambert Park which was a full house, a heap of Socceroos played on the ground in the 70’s and 80’s.
“One game I remember clearly was when we played against Olympic and we were down 1-0 with 15 minutes to go. We turned it around to win 2-1 and the 8,000 capacity crowd went absolutely nuts.
“I still think Lambert Park full has just as good if not better atmosphere than any ground in NSW.”
The 53-year-old spent seven days per week at the club and also played for the Tigers over-35s and 45s team in the Canterbury District Soccer Football Association as a goalkeeper.
Mannie was well and truly an Institute for not just the APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC club but for football in general.
His presence, charisma and personality will be sorely missed around the football grounds in NSW.
Football NSW would like to pass on its deepest condolences to the Ziino family.
May he rest in heavenly peace.